Controversial statements in March: Azath Salley indicted
By Hansi Nanayakkara
Colombo High Court Judge Amal Ranaraja yesterday served indictments on ex-Western Province Governor Azath Salley over the controversial statement he had made during a media briefing in early March. When the case was called before Judge Ranaraja last morning, the imprisoned leader of the National Unity Front (NUF), who was in a wheelchair, was produced in Court.
Subsequently, the indictments filed by Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam were served on the accused while the Court ordered the accused to be further remanded till 2 November and ordered Director of Prisons to produce him in Court on that date. The Judge also issued summons on 10 witnesses for the prosecution to appear before him that date to give testimony in the trial.
President’s Counsel Maithri Guneratne looked into the interests of the accused former Governor and he inquired about the Attorney General’s position with regard to enlarging his client on bail. However, Senior State Counsel Wasantha Perera, appearing for the prosecution, informed the Court that the AG was opposed to releasing the accused on bail.
On 16 March, Salley was arrested by the CID and was detained under the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism (PTA) and the ICCPR Act. The arrest was made over several controversial remarks Salley had made at a media conference, inciting strife among religious groups seven days earlier.