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Breaking News: Four Army Personnel Acquitted Over 2013 Rathupaswala Shooting

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Rathupaswala Shooting [File Photo]

The Gampaha High Court Trial-at-Bar has acquitted four Sri Lanka army personnel, including a Major and three soldiers, in connection with the 2013 Rathupaswala shooting incident. The verdict, delivered today, concludes the long-running case concerning the fatal shooting of three villagers and the injury of 45 others during a protest over clean drinking water.

The shooting occurred on August 1, 2013, when army personnel opened fire on unarmed villagers in Weliweriya. The villagers were protesting against a local factory they accused of polluting their groundwater, which led to widespread health concerns and demands for clean drinking water.

In August 2019, then Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya responded to the Attorney General’s request by appointing a Trial-at-Bar to hear the case. The panel consisted of High Court Judges Menaka Wijesundara (President), Nimal Ranaweera, and Nishantha Hapuarachchi.

Following this, on September 11, 2019, the Attorney General filed indictments against Brigadier Anura Deshapriya Gunawardena and three other military personnel, alleging they ordered troops to fire on the protesters.

The Gampaha High Court’s Trial-at-Bar had deferred its verdict from April 30, 2024, until today’s decision to acquit and release the accused soldiers.

Sri Lanka Guardian

The Sri Lanka Guardian is an online web portal founded in August 2007 by a group of concerned Sri Lankan citizens including journalists, activists, academics and retired civil servants. We are independent and non-profit. Email: editor@slguardian.org

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