Mahara Prison unrest: AKD demands release of autopsy details
By Gagani Weerakoon and Methmalie Dissanayake
Jathika Jana Balawegaya Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake on 1 December demanded that the Government reveal the autopsy reports of inmates killed in the Mahara Prison unrest on 29 November, since there are concerns that the authorities might attempt to cremate the bodies after declaring them as COVID-19-infected persons, in order to hide how they were killed.
Raising a question under the Standing Order 27/2, Dissanayake queried: “According to the Criminal Procedure Code, an autopsy must be done on those inmates who were killed during the shooting. An autopsy would reveal how they really died. Are you going reveal the results of the autopsies performed on them? Are their bodies going to be handed over to their parents and relatives? When will the Government reveal the details of the dead and injured inmates? The Government should give us answers. It is disgusting that persons who are supposed to be in the protection of the State are being killed like this. What happened in the Mahara Prison should be condemned. Killing inmates who are under State protection should be stopped.
They have genuine problems in prisons. For example, there was a dispute regarding the food given in the Mahara Prison, recently. After relatives of the inmates were prohibited to bring food into the Prison, the quality of the food given by the Prison had dropped. On other days, many inmates received food from relatives so the food cooked inside the Prison was of an acceptable quality. When bringing food was stopped, the authorities had to cook for about 3,000 inmates and this reduced the quality.
Then COVID-19 entered the Prison. Imagine the plight of these inmates. One of the inmates died due to COVID-19 and there is heavy congestion in the Prison. It is human that when such a situation arises, people behave aggressively. Unrest in the Mahara Prison was not the very first incident. Similar unrest due to COVID-19 was reported from prisons islandwide. The authorities could have prepared to face and manage such situations,” he said.