AG directs arrest of 22 individuals

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The Attorney General directed the IGP and CID Director to arrest 22 individuals including SLPP MPs Jonhston Fernando and Sanath Nishantha and produce them in Court as soon as possible, in connection with the attack by SLPP supporters on peaceful anti-Government protesters, if there is reasonable suspicion for doing so.

SLPP MPs Milan Jayathilake, Sanjeeva Ediramanna, Moratuwa Mayor Saman Lal Fernando, Mahinda Kahandagama, Dan Priyasad and Western Province SDIG Deshabandu Tennakoon were also among those named in the letter.

Additional Solicitor General Ayesha Jinasena advised to consider whether direct circumstantial and technical evidence available thus far and whether a reasonable suspicion exists with regard to the individuals in the commission of any offence as mentioned in the ‘B’ and further reports filed in the Magistrate’s Court or any other offence which is yet to be reported to Court.

According to the letter, when the investigators indentify reasons for their reasonable suspicion in identifying the suspects, they may be arrested as soon as possible and produced before Court in terms of the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act No. 15 of 1979 (as amended).

The Fort Magistrate’s Court previously issued overseas travel bans on former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, his son Namal Rajapaksa and 15 others affiliated with the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).

Accordingly, the travel ban was imposed on Mahinda Rajapaksa, Namal Rajapaksa, Jonhston Fernando, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Edirimanne, Kanchana Jayaratne, Rohitha Abeygunawardena, C.B. Rathnayake, Sampath Athukorala, Renuka Perera, Nishantha, NishanthaJayasinghe, Amith Abeywickrama, Pushpalal Kumarasinghe, Kahandagama, Dilith Fernando and Tennakoon.

Former Prime Minister Rajapaksa and his close confidantes led by Jonhston Fernando and Sanath Nishantha provoked SLPP supporters and instigated them to attack peaceful protesters in front of Temple Trees and Galle Face in a final attempt to retain power that resulted in a bloodbath in the country on 9 May.

Violence escalated across the country, when a large number of Mahinda Rajapaksa supporters attacked peaceful protesters at the MynaGoGama protest site in front of Temple Trees and GotaGoGama protest site at Galle Face in Colombo killing at least eight people, including a Parliamentarian and injuring more than 200 persons.

BY Faadhila Thassim and Kumudu Upul Shantha