Sri Lankan politician jailed for killing Briton

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Associated Press

Posted on July 18, 2014 at 3:01 AM

Updated Friday, Jul 18 at 9:01 AM

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A Sri Lankan court sentenced a ruling party politician to 20 years in prison on Friday for killing a British tourist and raping his Russian girlfriend more than two years ago.

Three others were given the same sentence as Sampath Vidanapathirana by a High Court. It found them guilty of murdering Khuram Shaikh and raping his girlfriend at a southern tourist resort on Christmas Day in 2011.

The case attracted international attention amid allegations that Vidanapathirana was enjoying impunity because of his connections to the family of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The case had been discussed in British Parliament. British politicians and the victim's family had visited Sri Lanka to personally demand justice.

Amid increasing scrutiny and pressure over Sri Lanka's human rights record, charges were filed against Vidanapathirana and five other suspects.

The court discharged two of them on Friday.

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