News

Death of Bathiudeen’s housemaid: Girl’s body to be exhumed

  • Court seeks clarity on sexual abuse issue
  • Several forensic experts to conduct 2nd autopsy
  • 11 children employed at MP’s house over the years
  • 4 suspects including MP’s wife, father-in-law, brother-in-law, broker re-remanded

BY Pamodi Waravita

The exhumation and conduct of a second postmortem examination has been ordered by the Colombo Magistrate’s Court, concerning the body of the 16-year-old girl who died of severe burn injuries sustained while employed at parliamentarian Rishad Bathiudeen’s house earlier this month.

The court had ordered the second postmortem examination in order to gain clarity on the alleged sexual abuse that the child had undergone. The second postmortem is to be conducted on the consultation of multiple expert Judicial Medical Officers (JMOs).

It has also been revealed in court that 11 children had been employed at MP Bathiudeen’s household over the years, allegedly taken there by the same broker who had brought the 16-year-old girl who died recently.

It was also revealed that although the girl had initially faced the burn injuries at approximately 6.45 a.m. on 3 July, she had only been taken to hospital about two hours later, at around 8.30 a.m.

MP Bathiudeen’s wife and three others including her father and brother as well as the broker in question have been further remanded. The case will be heard again on 9 August.

The girl, who had been admitted to Ward 72 of the National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL) on 3 July with burn injuries, had died on 15 July while receiving treatment, the Borella Police said. The Police have stated that investigations have revealed that the girl was brought to the house in October 2020, when she was 15 years and 11 months old.

The parents of the girl have been issued notice to appear before the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court tomorrow (28) as part of the ongoing inquest into her death.

They have also raised their suspicions about the nature of her death, stressing that they do not believe that it was a suicide.

On 16 July, the relevant JMO, submitting the initial postmortem report on the deceased, informed Colombo Additional Magistrate Rajindra Jayasuriya that the victim had been seriously sexually abused for a prolonged period. The Borella Police also informed the court on 16 July that they are investigating whether the girl was sexually abused after coming to Bathiudeen’s house or whether it had taken place at a house where she was staying before arriving at Bathiudeen’s house.

The Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court on 24 July granted permission to the Police to detain for 48 hours and interrogate four suspects, including former Minister Bathiudeen’s wife, who were arrested on 23 July over the child’s death. Police Media Spokesman Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police (SDIG) Ajith Rohana said the Police had arrested imprisoned Opposition MP Bathiudeen’s wife, 46-year-old Sheyabdeen Ayesha; her father, 70-year-old Mohammed Sheyabdeen; and the broker on 23 July. The MP’s brother-in-law has also been arrested on suspicion over the alleged rape of another domestic worker in Bathiudeen’s household.

MP Bathiudeen, who was in the custody of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), was hospitalised on 17 July after informing CID officers that he was ill. Bathiudeen had then been taken to the outpatient department of the NHSL. Upon being examined by doctors, the MP was admitted to the Emergency Treatment Unit (ETU) of the hospital. He has since been released from hospital and is in CID custody.

He was arrested on 24 April and is being detained for 90 days by the CID under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act in connection with his alleged involvement in the Easter Sunday terror attacks.