July 18, Colombo: A Sri Lankan court today convicted the main suspect and three other suspects of the murder of a British national and rape of his girlfriend.
Sri Lanka's Colombo High Court judge Rohini Walgama today sentenced the main suspect, former ruling party chairman of the Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha, Sampath Chandra Pushpa and three others accused of murdering the British national Khuram Shaikh to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment.
The main allegation against the defendants is the murder of Khuram Shaikh and the raping of hid girlfriend Victoria Alexandra
The main suspect has pleaded not guilty to the charges of murder.
Brother of the murder victim Nasser Shaikh, who has arrived in Colombo to hear the judge's verdict, has said that he is scared of the verdict.
The murder trial of British aid worker Khuram
Shaikh at a resort in southern Town of Tangalle on the Christmas Eve of 2011 drew world's attention when the case was dragged on for over two years due to the political influence of the suspects.
Khuram Shaikh Zaman, 32, was killed and his companion, Victoria Alexandrovna of Russia was assaulted and gang raped in a brawl during a party at a tourist hotel in Rekawa, Tangalle on Christmas Eve in 2011.
The main allegation against the defendants is the murder of Khuram Shaikh and the raping of Victoria Alexandra.
The main suspect, former ruling party Chairman of Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha Sampath Chandra Pushpa Vidanapathirana and six others, were arrested and remanded following the murder, but the case dragged on until international pressure mounted on the Sri Lankan government to bring the culprits to justice.
The case was later transferred from the Tangalle Magistrate's Court to Colombo on the request of the Attorney General since the suspects have been threatening the witnesses at the trial.