Written by Zulfick Farzan
19 May, 2021 | 12:57 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st); There are delays in filing cases against those involved in terrorism as investigations must take place strategically ensuring those accountable don’t use loopholes to evade the law, Public Security Minister Rear Admiral (Retd) Dr. Sarath Weerasekara told Parliament on Wednesday (19).
“If cases were filed against the suspect immediately, their (suspects) talented counsel will use loopholes to secure their release. That is why there is a delay in investigations in order to cover all bases,” said the Public Security Minister.
“Legal action was instituted against 32 people with regard to the 2019 April 21st Attacks,” he said. adding cases were filed against 16 people at the Kegalle High Court with regard to damaging statues in Mawanella.
In addition, cases were filed against 06 people at the Puttlam High Court with regard to the explosives dump in Wanathawilluwa, he told the house.
Cases were also filed against 03 people at the Kegalle High Court for shooting a person known as Mohamed Thaslim from Mawanella, in the head, and a case was filed against a person known as Mohamed Iqsan Ahamed at the Kandy High Court for weapons training while a case was filed against another suspect at the Gampaha High Court for assisting in acts of terror.
A case was filed against a suspect known as Mohamed Naufer at the Kurunegala High Court for assisting in acts of terror while a similar case was filed against Attorney-at-Law Hejaaz Hizbullah and another suspect at the Puttlam High Court.
The Former Inspector General of Police and the Former Defence Secretary are facing charges at the Colombo High Court for Criminal Negligence.
The Public Security Minister said in November 2020 Sri Lanka Police sent 08 case files to the Attorney General with regard to the 08 attacks on the 21st of April 2019 and said it was evident the Attorney General was committed towards these case during his follow-up meetings.
The Public Security Minister said 54 Police Officers together with personnel from the Attorney General’s Department led by a Senior Deputy Solicitor General studied the evidence in depth this year and it was supervised by the present Attorney General.
“During the in-depth study, certain shortcomings will be revealed. Further evidence will be required on certain suspects, as well as other reports will be required,” he said adding on the 24th of April a report was submitted to Sri Lanka Police for further investigations, and a reminder was sent to the IGP on the 12th of May by the Attorney General.
“A majority of these shortcomings were rectified and sent back to the AGs Department while the other investigations will continue in the future,” he said adding thereafter the Attorney General can file cases against the suspects.
Investigation files on suspects Mohamed Rizwan, Mohamed Waqar Younus, Shaul Hameed, and Mohamed Fazan were also sent to the Attorney General, he said adding investigations on Mohamed Aazim is underway.
704 people were arrested over the 2019 April 21st Attacks and 203 of them are in remand custody while 84 are held on a detention order.
204 suspects were enlarged on bail and 168 people were released while Indictments were prepared against 32 suspects.
The investigations are continuing with the assistance of the Attorney General’s Department and when shortcomings are identified, measures are taken to address them, said the Public Security Minister.
Sri Lanka’s Attorney General Dappula De Livera over the weekend made a public announcement noting that he is not in a position to present charges or indictments against the conspirators and abettors of the 2019 April 21st Attacks during his tenure in office as the investigations carried out by the Criminal Investigations Department are incomplete.
The announcement was made by State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne, the Coordinating Officer to the Attorney General on Saturday (15).
“The CID is yet to conclude all investigations into all suspects connected to the 2019 April 21st Attacks,” said State Counsel Nishara Jayarartne.
Earlier, Sri Lanka’s Attorney General has sought clarification from the Inspector General Police with regard to over-hanging investigations on the 2019 April 21st Attacks.
The Attorney General has sought confirmation from IGP in a 130 communication of evidence against 42 suspects in Category A of 2019 terror attacks and sought clarification whether any investigations are pending while noting that investigations against 05 suspects are incomplete.
The five suspects are Mohamed Asim, Mohamed Rizwan, Mohamed Waqar Yunus , Mohamed Fazan, and Shaul Hameed Hameez Mohamed.
In addition, the Attorney General had also sought clarification with regard to the investigations on 29 other suspects.
“Apart from the 71 suspects mentioned above, the Attorney General sought information from the IGP with regard to any suspects being investigated over the 2019 April 21st Attacks,” said AGs CO to News 1st.
In an EXCLUSIVE interview on 12th May with News 1st’, Attorney General Dappula De Livera said the case with regard to the 08 simultaneous and coordinated attacks in Sri Lanka’s Capital and in two other areas in 2019 cannot move forward as investigations are still incomplete.
“The investigations are incomplete and I am unable to move the cases due to this reason,” said De Livera on Wednesday (12).
“This will be probably the only case that I would not be in a position to forward indictments during my tenure due to delays in the investigation. Otherwise, all these cases would have been carried forward during my tenure,” he told News 1st.
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