Written by Staff Writer
20 Aug, 2018 | 7:57 pm
Colombo (News1st) – The statement recorded from former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, over the 2008 abduction and assault of journalist Keith Noyahr, was submitted to the Additional Magistrate of Mount Lavinia today. A statement recorded by officers of the Criminal Investigations Department from Keith Noyahr in Australia was also presented to court today.
Details regarding the statements were brought to light when Senior State Counsel Lakmini Girihagama submitted a further report to court on the progress made in the investigation of the abduction and assault of Keith Noyahr, a journalist with The Nation newspaper at the time, by a group of men in a van on the night of the 22nd of May 2008.
In his statement, the former President says that he has no recollection of phone calls he had received on the day of Keith Noyahr’s abduction. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had also informed the officers of the CID that he may have informed either the Secretary to the President or the Defence Secretary to make inquiries, upon being informed of Noyahr’s abduction.
The Senior State Counsel submitted to court that the former President had not refuted the fact that he had received phone calls regarding this matter. She added that a 3rd statement had been recorded from the 8th suspect in the case, former Army Chief of Staff Major General Amal Karunasekara, with the permission of the court.
THE TRUE STORY
She also presented a brief in open court, of the statement recorded by CID officers from the aggrieved party Kieth Noyahr, in Australia.
In his statement, Noyahr notes that while serving as Deputy Editor of The Nation in 2008, he had published a series of articles flagging weaknesses in the government and military, using the pseudonym “Senpathi”. He adds that he also drew attention to weaknesses on the part of the Defence Minister, Defence Secretary, the Army and the Police, at the time.
Furthermore, he notes that on a day after these articles were published, while he was travelling towards the University of Colombo, he noticed that he was being followed by Army jeeps and that he had escaped them by entering the university premises. He added that on the same night, an armed group who arrived in a white van had beaten, blindfolded and abducted him.
In his statement to the CID officers, Noyahr notes that he was beaten throughout the journey in the van and that he was questioned on whether he had any links with the LTTE. Noyahr adds that he was taken to an unknown location, stripped, suspended mid-air and beaten once again.
His statement also reads that while he was being assaulted, one of the men had received a phone call during which he responded “Ok Sir, Ok Sir” following which the assault stopped. He noted that he was asked to stand up, wash his face and wear his clothes. Noyahr adds that he was then brought to Dehiwala and released.
He had then admitted himself to a hospital and after receiving treatment had departed for Australia fearing for his life.
The Senior State Counsel also informed court today that while information had been sought from the current Defence Secretary on the alleged safe house in Baduwaththa, Dompe, where Noyahr was reportedly detained, this information had not been forthcoming. She added that they are hoping to receive this information from the Defence Secretary in the future.
Having listened to the submissions made, Mount Lavinia Additional Magistrate Lochana Abeywickrama Weerasinghe, informed the Senior State Counsel to remind the Defence Secretary to provide the information requested. The court postponed the hearing of the bail application for the 8th suspect Major General Amal Karunaratne to the 27th of August and returned him to remand custody.
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