Riyaj Bathiudeen’s petition dismissed
By Kamal Weeraratna
The Court of Appeal, yesterday (21), rejected the writ petition filed by the All Ceylon Makkal Congress Parliamentarian Rishad Bathiudeen’s sibling, Riyaj Bathiudeen, seeking the prevention of his re-arrest by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), without costs and without even taking it up for perusal.
The writ application was taken up before Court of Appeal Judges, Justices Mahinda Samayawardhane and Arjuna Obeysekara.
Lengthy submissions on behalf of the Attorney General were made by Senior Additional Solicitor General, President’s Counsel Sarath Jayamanne, while submissions on behalf of the intervenient petitions filed by Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith and Lawrence Ramanayake on behalf of the Catholic Bishops Conference, were made by Sanjeewa Jayawardena PC.
Jayamanne PC, Attorneys Ruskshan Senadheera and Maneesha Dissanayake and Jayawardena PC, emphasised to the Bench that the basic argument of the petitioner is that if an order is issued for his re-arrest, then his privacy would be infringed.
But, the prosecution maintained that it had been suspect Riyaj Bathiudeen, who had facilitated the mastermind behind last year’s Easter Sunday carnage Zaharan Hashim, to flee to India on a boat. They also told the bench that the suspect had also had seven phone calls with Mohammad Insaf, the suicide cadre behind the blast that took place at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo, during last year’s Easter Sunday blasts. The prosecution further said that the suspect Riyaj Bathiudeen had also engaged in talks with Insaf for hours at a hotel before the blast and stressed that the suspect can also be charged as having colluded with Insaf, to carry out the heinous acts of crime on innocent people.
Riyaj Bathiudeen was taken into custody on 14 April this year while in Puttalam.
After six months of arrest, he was released by the CID on 29 September, citing a lack of evidence to file a case against him.
Filing the writ application challenging the CID’s attempts to re-arrest him, Riyaj Bathiudeen said that he was apprehended on 14 April this year, in connection with the 2019 Easter Sunday terror attacks and was held in custody for a long time on a detention order.
The Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandana D. Wickramaratne, the former DIG in charge of the CID Nuwan Wedasinghe, the Director of the CID Prasanna de Alwis, the Chief Inspector of CID Mihindu Abeysinghe and seven others, were named as respondents by the petitioner.
He pointed out that during the detention period, the CID sleuths had conducted extensive investigations into his residences, properties, businesses, bank accounts and he was subsequently released as there was no evidence to substantiate any criminal charges against him.
Despite this, various parties are pressuring for him to be re-arrested for political reasons, Riyaj Bathiudeen stated. The petitioner had further noted that there is a reasonable fear that he may be re-arrested as a result.
Meanwhile, an interim petition was filed praying the Court to revoke the writ application submitted by Riyaj Bathiudeen to prevent him from being re-arrested.
The Director of Seth Sarana Caritas Colombo, Lawrence Ramanayake had lodged the interim petition on behalf of Cardinal Ranjith.