Sri Lanka President blasts police, AG over military cases
ECONOMYNEXT – President Maithripala Sirisena Friday accused the Criminal Investigations Department and the Attorney General of delaying prosecutions of military officers accused of high-profile murder and abduction during the former regime.
Sirisena told newspaper editors and electronic media bosses that he lambasted the CID as well as the AG for not filing a single case despite arresting and detaining several military officers, including senior officers since he took office in January 2015.
“I told them ‘If you can’t file indictments, don’t arrest and detain these people’,” Sirisena said adding that one officer had been held for five months and released without being charged.
He was referring to the former head of military intelligence Amal Karunasekera who was arrested in connection with the abduction and torture of journalist Keith Noyahr in 2008.
Police investigators have told court that investigations were getting held up because the military was not cooperating with detectives.
There were recent media reports that Sirisena had ordered his military top brass not to cooperate with police and court requests for information while investigating high profile cases as the Lasantha Wickrematunge assassination, Prageeth Eknaligoda abduction and the murder of 11 students.
However, Sirisena said on Friday that he had not issued such orders to the military, but there was no explanation why the defence ministry, which is under him, had been dragging its feet in providing information requested by courts.
He confirmed that the emergency cabinet meeting he summoned on Thursday was to discuss the issue of the impending arrest of the country’s senior-most military officer, Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne
The President tried to secure cabinet support to resist the arrest, but failed to get agreement from his cabinet of ministers who wanted the matter taken up when Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe returns from Vietnam.
Sirisena was miffed that the CID had collected evidence against Wijegunaratne and also obtained a court order for his arrest before he left the island for Mexico on Monday.
The Admiral had left the country to attend the national day of Mexico which is on September 16. He slipped out of the country even as he was summoned to the CID to record a statement about his alleged involvement in obstructing the arrest of a mass murder suspect.
The CID has already told court that Admiral Wijegunaratne gave half a million rupees in cash to help navy intelligence officer Hettiarachchi Mudiyanselage Chandana Prasad Hettiarachchi, the main suspect in the abduction and murder of 11 children escape arrest.
The CID has uncovered chilling details of how children and young men of wealthy families were abducted for ransom by a gang of navy officers, allegedly led by Hettiarachchi, and subsequently killed after holding them at naval facilities in Colombo and Trincomalee between 2008 and 2009. (COLOMBO, September 14, 2018)