Sri Lankan politician jailed for Christmas Day killing of Rochdale aid worker after campaign for justice

A Sri Lankan politician has been jailed for the killing of a Rochdale aid worker who was holidaying on the island over Christmas.  

Khuram Shaikh, 32, was shot and stabbed in Christmas day in 2011 after the Red Cross worker tried to break up a fight.

Former Tangalle Council Leader Sampath Vidanapathirana was jailed for 20 years for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, along with three other men.

Mr Shaikh’s brother Nasser said: “The country has done what many people hoped and prayed for. Those who killed my brother have been punished and are now behind bars for a long time.”

Mr Shaikh had been working in Gaza fitting prosthetic limbs, but was holidaying in the resort of Tangalle when the fatal attack happened.

The case attracted international attention amid allegations that Vidanapathirana was enjoying impunity because of his connections to the family of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The six accused had also denied raping a woman, but Vidanapathirana and the other three men convicted of Mr Shaikh’s killing were also found guilty of rape.

Two men however were acquitted of the charge at the High Court in Sri Lankan capital Colombo.

The case was discussed in Parliament and British politicians, with Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk vocal on the subject, and the victim’s family had visited Sri Lanka to personally demand justice.

Mr Shaikh’s brother said: “Our campaign was not only about justice, but to bring awareness of the wonderful work my brother did around the world, working in humanitarian aid.

“He is a true inspiration for many and we hope his legacy continues with those he left behind.

“Today is a symbolic moment – a day the country delivered justice, a day I delivered my promise to a brother.”

Image courtesy of the Home Office via YouTube with thanks

Related Articles