COLOMBO : A Sri Lankan ruling party politician and three accomplices were Friday sentenced to 20 years in jail for murdering a British holidaymaker on Christmas Eve and raping his Russian partner. The Colombo High Court said town council chief Sampath Vidanapathirana was guilty of killing 32-year-old Khuram Shaikh, an International Red Cross aid worker, who had tried to stop a brawl at a southern beach resort on December 24, 2011. After 33 days of hearing evidence, judge Rohini Walgama found Vidanapathirana, a member of President Mahinda Rajapakse’s Freedom Alliance, and three others guilty on all 16 counts that included culpable homicide, attempted murder and rape.
The four men were ordered to pay a total of 800,000 rupees ($6,250) as compensation to the Russian woman, who cannot be named, as well as fines of 20,000 rupees ($156) each.
Two other accused were discharged by the court saying there was insufficient evidence against them.
All six of them were indicted in December after repeated allegations that there was an unnecessary delay in bringing the case to court, leading to suspicions they were being shielded by their political connections.