Easter Sunday attacks PCoI: Request for Bathiudeen to testify via Skype rejected
By Buddhika Samaraweera
Parliamentarian Rishad Bathiudeen is currently at risk of contracting COVID-19, since an inmate who was in the lock-up next to where Bathiudeen is being held, has tested positive for COVID-19, Attorney-at-Law Rushdi Habib told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the 21 April 2019 Easter Sunday bombings.
He said that the inmate who was in the lock-up bearing Number Nine of Ward E at the Welikada Prison has tested positive for COVID-19 recently and that his client, Bathiudeen is currently in the lock-up No. 10.
Adding that the COVID-19 infected patient has been sent to the Kandakadu Treatment Centre for treatment, Habib claimed that none of the inmates who are being held at Ward E had undergone Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests. There are 38 inmates and the Prison authorities have not yet taken steps to conduct PCR tests on them, he further claimed. Since Bathiudeen is due to testify before the Commission, Habib requested that an opportunity be given to his client to testify via Skype, after taking into consideration the prevailing situation.
However, the Chairman of the Commission announced that Bathiudeen could not be provided with an opportunity to testify via Skype since an individual representing a certain media institution owned by Bathiudeen was found to have recorded the Commission’s proceedings.
Taking into account the incident and the request made by Habib, the Chairman of the Commission said that the aforesaid incident had tarnished the confidence that the Commission had on Bathiudeen.
The said individual was found to have recorded the Commission proceedings by a Police officer attached to the Commission and he, however, said that he had recorded it without any knowledge of the fact that journalists were not allowed to record.