A documentary by filmmakers Peter Savodnik, Ed Perkins, and Kannan Arunasalam, of Stateless Media has managed to force the hand of the Sri Lankan government who for several years have been trying to cover-up a heinous crime committed on two holiday makers from the United Kingdom.
”The Brothers Shaikh” is the story of Nasser Shaikh, who travels to Sri Lanka to find answers to the murder of his brother, Khuram, a British National who was stabbed in the neck and shot dead, and the gang rape of his brother’s girlfriend Victoria, a Russian national. The atrocious crime took place in December 2011 in a hotel on the southernmost coast of Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan authorities promised that the eight suspects Sampath Vidanapathirana (SLFP), his private secretary Mohottige Sarath alias Sahan, Weerappuliga Pradeep Chathuranga, S. P. Januka Chathuranga, H. T. Nuwan Chnithaka, E. T. Nadeera Shaman, Nalagama Praveen Chaturanga, Saman Deshapriya and Obada Arachchige Lahiru Kelum would face trial but since then nothing has happened.
On the 28th July 2013, four days after the documentary was placed on the ‘New Yorker’ website, the Sri Lankan government announced that the Tangalle eight will be indicted at the High Court of Colombo.
Kannan Arunasalam is an award-winning Sri Lankan filmmaker who grew up in London and now spends his time between Sri Lanka, Cambodia & the UK. In a statement to the journalism for citizens website ‘Groundviews.org’ Kannan Arunasalam said:
When the journalist Peter Savodnik asked me to collaborate with him on making The Brothers Shaikh, I said no. I was scared. This was my home. I knew that if I crossed some invisible line, there would be repercussions. But then I changed my mind. What convinced me was that The Brothers Shaikh was a story ordinary Sri Lankans could relate to. The story is not complicated by terrorism, or how the war ended or about emerging conflicts. It’s about a gang of men who committed the crimes of murder and rape against two individuals. Not because of their politics, their ethnicity or their religion, but simply out of rage and lust and a sense of power over the weak.