Lankan ex-President Sirisena named suspect in Easter attacks

Colombo (TIP): A Sri Lankan court on September 17 named former president Maithripala Sirisena as a suspect in the 2019 Easter bombings, in which 270 persons, including 11 Indians, were killed. The Colombo Fort magistrate’s court, which pronounced the judgment, accused Sirisena of neglecting intelligence reports on the impending attack leading to the bombings. Sirisena (71) will now have to appear in court on October 14. The former president was earlier held responsible for the attack by a probe panel he was forced to appoint following pressure from the Catholic Church and the relatives of the victims.

He had denied the allegation. The special presidential probe had also found a host of other top defence officials, including former police chief PujithJayasundera and former defence secretary Hemasiri Fernando, guilty of ignoring prior intelligence. The panel report had recommended criminal action against Sirisena and the other officials. Ousted president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who had succeeded Sirisena, also came under pressure to implement the findings of the probe panel, where Sirisena was found culpable of committing the crime. However, he had refused to act as Sirisena had by then become the chair of the ruling SLPP coalition. Friday’s court order came as a result of a plaint filed by a victim alongside the National Catholic Committee for Justice to Easter Sunday Attack Victims.

On the third anniversary of the Easter terror attack in April, then PM Mahinda Rajapaksa had vowed that the Sri Lankan government will not rest until justice was served to the guilty behind the 2019 attacks. A month later, Mahinda had to step down in May after massive protests against him over attacks by his supporters on the anti-government protesters. (PTI)

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