President pardons former Sri Lanka Army staff sergeant Sunil Rathnayake
ECONOMYNEXT – Former Sri Lanka Army Staff Sergeant R M Sunil Rathnayake who was sentenced to death in 2015 was granted a presidential pardon today, the state-run Independent Television Network (ITN) reported.
Rathnayake, who was attached to the long range reconnaissance patrol of the army, was sentenced to death by the Colombo High Court in June 2015 for his alleged involvement in the Mirusuvil massacre in 2000. The former soldier, who was the firt accused in the case, was found guilty of the murder of eight civilians.
The Mirusivil case dragged on for about 13 years, and 13 out of the 14 soldiers barring Rathnayake were acquitted due to insufficient evidence.
The alleged massacre occurred in December 2000 when eight internally displaced persons (IDPs) were arrested in Mirusiivil, Jaffna, and were allegedly tortured and murdered. The victims included three teenagers and a five-year-old child.
ITN news reported that Rathanayake, upon his release today, has returned home. (Colombo/Mar26/2020)
Kithmina Hewage- Institute of Policy Studies