Sri Lanka’s Attorney General has confirmed that prison guards opened fire on inmates at Mahara prison, killing 11 people and injuring close to 150, on the 29 November.
Prison authorities and parliamentarians had earlier described the incident as a “riot” claiming that inmates turned violent after using psychiatric drugs.
Nishara Jayaratne, State Counsel, has rebuked these claims reporting to the Wattala magistrate court that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had found that these injuries and deaths were caused by the shooting.
According to one survivor, recounting his experience:
“It was no one else than the jailors who opened fire at us. Before shooting they smashed the prisoner’s limbs. When the inmates got agitated, they opened fire. They even shot at those who were running away to save their lives.”
The prisoners in Mahara prisoner were protesting their continued detention despite a thousand inmates having tested positive for the coronavirus. The CID also reported that the maximum-security prison held over thrice its capacity.