Supreme Court to Hear Appeals of Defendants Sentenced to Death for Abduction, Gang Rape, and Murder of Schoolgirl Vidya
In a much-awaited development, the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka has fixed the appeals filed by the defendants who were given the death penalty over the 2015 abduction, gang rape, and murder of schoolgirl Sivaloganathan Vidya for hearing. The defendants, including the chief, accused ‘Swiss Kumar,’ seek acquittal from the sentences imposed on them.
The judge bench, consisting of Justices Preethi Padman Surasena, Gamini Amarasekara, and Arjuna Obeysekera, considered the facts presented and ordered that the appeals be taken up for hearing on October 06. The prison officers produced the defendants of the relevant case, including Swiss Kumar, before the court amid heavy security.
The Jaffna High Court had given the death penalty to the seven accused, including Swiss Kumar, on September 27, 2017, over the abduction, gang rape, and murder of 18-year-old schoolgirl Sivaloganathan Vidya. The three-member judge bench had also ordered the accused to pay Rs. 1 million to compensate the victim’s family and sentenced them to an additional 30 years in prison.
Sivaloganathan Vidya was abducted, gang-raped, and murdered in Jaffna on May 13, 2015, while returning home from school. The widely publicized trial had ended with the much-anticipated verdict of the death penalty to the seven suspects.
However, the appealing party seeks an order from the Supreme Court to declare the relevant death penalty to have been imposed in violation of the law and to acquit them of the charges. The case has garnered significant attention and is closely watched by the public and human rights organizations.