Sri Lanka bans Chief Justice from conference over coup claim
COLOMBO (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s attorney general barred the country’s chief justice from attending a regional conference on Monday after allegations he tried to help the former president retain power illegally.
Chief Justice Mohan Peiris is under growing pressure to stand down after he was implicated in an alleged coup attempt by former president Mahinda Rajapakse, who lost power in an election earlier this month.
Sri Lanka’s bar association had threatened to boycott the Conference of Attorneys General, held in Colombo on Monday, if he attended.
"We have a written confirmation from the AG (attorney general) that the chief justice (Peiris) was de-invited," the head of the bar association Upul Jayasuriya told AFP.
"We said we will walk out if Mohan Peiris is present, and that would have been a big embarrassment."
Rajapakse appointed Peiris after impeaching the previous chief justice Shirani Bandaranayake when her rulings went against his administration.
New President Maithripala Sirisena, who was sworn in on January 9, has vowed to restore Bandaranayake to the role.
Police have opened a criminal investigation into claims that the defeated strongman Rajapakse tried to use military force to stay in power.
There was no immediate comment from the chief justice, who was with the president as the elections results began to emerge and is accused of trying to legitimise a state of emergency.