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* Britain welcomes Sri Lankan court's verdict of Khuram Shaikh trial
Fri, Jul 18, 2014, 07:36 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

July 18, Colombo: Britain today welcomed the verdict and sentences delivered by a Sri Lankan court to the suspects of the murder of a British national Khuram Shaikh.

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.

“We welcome the verdicts and sentences handed down today to those responsible for the murder of Khuram Shaikh," British High Commission in Colombo said issuing a statement today.

"We hope that this will bring some closure for his family and friends who have faced a long and difficult fight for justice."

Khuram Shaikh Zaman, 32, was killed and his companion, Victoria Alexandrova 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 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 due to the political influence of the suspects 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.

The British High Commission commended the Sri Lanka Attorney General and his office for their efforts in bringing the culprits to justice.

"The officials of the Attorney General's office have shown great professionalism and integrity and we would like to thank them. We will continue to monitor any developments in the case closely," the High Commission said.

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