COLOMBO: A Sri Lankan high court today sentenced to death seven persons for kidnapping, raping and killing a schoolgirl in 2015 in the Tamil-dominated Jaffna province, an incident that had sparked nationwide outrage.
Sivaloganathan Vithya, 18, had gone missing on May 13, 2015 in Punkudithivu, Kaytes after she left home for school. Next day her brother found the body at an isolated spot with her hands and legs tied to logs.
A three-member trial bench of the Jaffna High Court sentenced the seven accused to death, including prime suspect Swiss Kumar who had arrived in Sri Lanka to videotape the rape and killing of the girl. The seven men found guilty were also sentenced to 30 years rigorous imprisonment and ordered to pay Rs one million as compensation to Vithya's family, according to the Sri Lanka Guardian.
The court was told that Kumar wanted to sell the video of the rape and murder to a contact in Switzerland. It also transpired that one suspect was in love with the victim but the girl had rejected him.
Some 41 charges were filed against the suspects in the murder, which sparked countrywide outrage leading to street protests. Jaffna's senior-most police officer at the time, Lalith Jayasinghe, was also arrested for allowing one of the suspects to flee police custody.
Jayasinghe, who is out on bail now, was the highest- ranking police officer in service ever to be arrested, reports had said.