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Colombo Chief Magistrate extends remand of Pujith, Hemasiri to July 9

Hemasiri Fernando Pujith Jayasundara 700 01
Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne on Thursday ordered to extend the remand of former Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Hemasiri Fernando and IGP Pujith Jayasundara to July 9th.

Both accused were remanded by Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne yesterday, after being arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department on Tuesday afternoon while receiving treatment in two different hospitals.

When the case against them were taken up before Court, Deputy Solicitor General Thusith Mudalige submitted that the two accused failed to act on information shared during a meeting of defence officials on 9 April, regarding a possible attack on 21 April. A reminder has been sent on the morning of 21 April as well. The State Intelligence Chief’s reminder on the morning of 21 April included the names of the attackers, while the same details were also shared with both officials on 18, 19 and 20 April, Despite the information being available, the accused failed to take action.The AG ordered the arrest of the two top officials on several charges under several articles in Sri Lanka’s Penal Code, including “grave crimes against humanity.” There is sufficient evidence that Jayasundera and Fernando have committed offenses for which they can be punished, under Sections 296, 298,327, 328, 329 and 410 of the Penal Code.

He further stated the accused could have prevented the attacks, either by arresting the attackers, or by evacuating the victims from churches before the attacks. If either of these methods had been used, the severity of the attack could have been reduced.
He also stated that the IGP had failed to inform the President, Prime Minister, State Defence Minister, Commanders of the Tri-Forces, the members of the Security Council, and religious leaders, despite receiving specific details of the attack. The IGP could also have imposed Police curfew as a preventive measure. The information was not followed up on.

Defence Counsel Anuja Jayaratne, PC, appearing for the accused, pleaded that the letter sent by National Intelligence Bureau Sisira Mendis to former Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Fernando requested him to investigate and confirm the intelligence report from India, detailing a possible suicide attack by National Thowheed Jama’ath. The letter was then sent to IGP Jayasundara.

He further submitted that although State Intelligence Service stated they issued letters on the attack, no specific information was given, although the letters said that investigations were being carried out on whether Zahran Hashim and followers of National Thowheed Jama’ath were preparing to carry out attacks.

He also raised a question as to how the accused could have stopped the Easter Sunday Mass based on unverified information. He added that for action to be taken to prevent such an attack, Emergency law and the Prevention of Terrorism Act must be enacted by the President. The Head of State Intelligence Service never shared information with the accused. It was reported only to the President.

He concluded that in such circumstances, charging his clients for murder was not justified.

 

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