ECONOMYNEXT – Former Sri Lankan minister Rishad Bathiudeen and his brother Riyaj were taken into custody in the early hours of today for alleged links to the 2019 Easter Sunday bombers, police said.
Police spokesman Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Ajith Rohana told the media this morning that the two men were arrested under provisions of Sri Lanka’s controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) for aiding and abetting and for maintaining connections with the attackers.
Rohana said the arrests were made based on direct and scientific evidence.
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) will continue investigations, he said.
Bathiudeen’s alleged links to the suicide bombers have been a highly politicised point that has figured prominently in the run up to Sri Lanka’s presidential and parliamentary polls held since the attack.
In October last year, more than two-thirds of the country’s governing party parliamentary group signed a letter addressed to the President and the Prime Minister demanding an inquiry into how Riyaj Bathiudeen, who had previously been arrested, was released from police custody.
The series of bombings on April 21, 2019, carried out in churches and hotels, killed 269 people and injured over 500. (Colombo/Apr24/2021)