Nine Army Intel men enlarged on bail

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Nine Sri Lanka Army Intelligence personnel, including the former Commandant of the Girithale Army Camp, Shammi Karunaratne, who were remanded over the abduction and forced disappearance of journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda, were released on bail on Friday (17) by the Permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar.

The suspects, after being remanded, initially were enlarged on bail earlier, but the Court ordered to rescind their bail order and remand them, after it was alleged they had exerted pressure on the witnesses.

The Court ordered a witness, who has been charged with submitting testimony in Contempt of Court and detrimental to the prosecution in the case, to be remanded till 23 June.

The Trial-at-Bar comprised Judges Sanjeewa Moraes, Mahen Weeraman and Damith Thotawatta.

The witness to the prosecution, identified as Sumathipala Thiru Kumar, who had served with the intelligence unit of the LTTE, has been charged with submitting evidence in Contempt of Court which was harmful to the prosecution.

The Court also ordered the OIC of the Organized Crimes Detection Unit of the CID, to probe whether the witness had been influenced in any manner or way, by any organisation or by any individual etc and to submit a report on it at the earliest.

The AG has indicted the nine suspects on 17 counts, as well as on charges of the forced abduction and disappearance of Eknaligoda, on or before 25 January 12 years ago and for having flouted Provisions contained in Sections 102, 356, 140, 146, 359, 32 and 113 of the Penal Code.

By Hansi Nanayakkara