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FBI identified Naufer Moulavi as Easter carnage mastermind – Public Security Minister



Hakeem points finger at Israeli Intelligence

By Saman Indrajith

Public Security Minister Rear Admiral (Retd.) Sarath Weerasekara told Parliament yesterday that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had identified Naufer Moulavi as the mastermind behind the Easter Sunday terror attacks.

Making a special statement to the House in response to a statement by Attorney General Dappula de Livera, Minister Weerasekera said that according to the investigations carried out by the Sri Lanka Police and US detectives, it was clear that Moulavi had masterminded the terror attacks on 21 April, 2019, killing 270 persons and wounding another 500.

 “Naufer is the person who brought the IS ideology to Sri Lanka and roped in Mohamed Zahran in 2016,’ the Minister said, adding that it had been confirmed by the statements given by Zahran’s wife.

Minister Weerasekera said that it was Naufer who carried out IS training programmes in Sri Lanka and evidence from his documents and laptop support that conclusion. It was Moulavi who prepared the curriculum and course content of those IS training programmes. In addition, he supervised the training camps in Nuwara Eliya and Hambantota.

“Moulavi gave his sister-in-law in marriage to Zahran,” said the Minister adding that the FBI investigation also proved Moulavi was the main player in the attacks.

The Minister said it had come to light that several foreigners were involved in the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks and that an Australian national of Sri Lankan origin, Luqman Talib, had already been arrested in Qatar.  Lankan intelligence agencies had uncovered links between Thalib and Al-Qaeda and IS. “Thalib has two sons and one son is already under house arrest in Australia. Sri Lankan forces have also traced four Maldivian suspects who financed the National Organiser of the Jamaat-e-Islami organization, Sadik Abdullah, and provided weapons manufacturing equipment. There is no need to have any doubt over the investigations on the Easter Sunday terror attacks.”

Nine cases had been filed against 32 suspects so far and necessary steps would be taken to file cases against the other suspects as well, the Minister said.

SJB Gampaha District MP Dr Kavinda Jayawardana said Mohamed Naufer, Mohamed Anwar Mohamed Riskan and Ahamed Milhan Hayathu Mohamed had been charged last month in a federal court in Los Angeles. But there were cases against them here yet. “In addition, the Attorney General has mentioned that there is a conspiracy behind these investigations. We as Catholic MPs have a serious problem when people question these statements and developments. We hope that either the Minister of Public Security or the Minister of Justice will explain to this House the actual situation with regard to the investigations.”

SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem said that there were reports that Israeli intelligence services had a hand behind the Easter Sunday attacks and its mastermind. Facts related to this and that Israeli intelligence connection were mentioned in the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Easter Sunday attacks, he added. “Please check these facts and study those reports. There is an innocent poet called Altaf Nazim. He is being held for publishing a poetry book, which contains nothing related to terrorism. Please, get the book translated and see its content. Many international organisations including Amnesty International have written to the government in this regard. Public trust in investigations is eroded when you prosecute innocent people. I also want to say that the case against Hejaaz Hizbullah is totally fabricated. He is held on statements forcibly obtained from children. He is a lawyer and past student of S. Thomas’ College. When you go after the innocent you cannot capture the real culprits.”

Minister Weerasekera: All those who are spaking now were the MPs or Ministers of the Yahapalana government which should be held responsible for the crime of weakening our intelligence and letting this tragic incident happen in spite of warnings. When the SIS recommended the arrest of Zahran in 2018, the then government authorities neglected that. Had Zahran been arrested then nothing of this sort would have happened. Therefore, all those in that government should be held responsible for the crime. There had been 10 incidents prior to the April 21 attacks, but no arrests had been made.

SJB MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara: It is wrong. It was during our government an open warrant for the arrest of Zahran was obtained. The conspirators are in the government.

Minister Weerasekera: MP Hakeem mentioned Hejaaz Hizbullah. The latter was the one who operated the Save the Pearl organisation under which he gave lectures to indoctrinate Muslim youth to the terror outfit. We have evidence of his lectures brainwashing them to make them terrorists. Zahran and Naufer Moulavi too had conducted lectures on suicide attacks to children. Those lectures were organised by Save the Pearl.

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People to get fuel price shock soon



The Cabinet sub-committee on the cost of living had decided to increase fuel prices, Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila told the media yesterday (11) in Colombo. He said that the date of the price hikes  would be revealed soon.

The Minister said that if they announced the date, it would lead to long lines at filling stations and it would have disastrous consequences during the pandemic.

“We know that things are hard for everyone, that is why we didn’t increase fuel prices for 21 months. But the government can no longer bear the losses. The oil prices in the world market have been increasing. By the end of 2020, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) had accumulated a loss of RS. 331 billion. Each year we spend three billion dollars to import oil,” he said.

Gammanpila said that the main sources of income for the country had been affected due to the pandemic and foreign investments and tourism had stopped and a large number of Lankans working abroad had returned, decreasing remittances.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Office on May 20 said that a ministerial subcommittee discussed the sharp increase in crude oil prices compared to 2019 and 2020.

The PM chaired the meeting in the Committee Room 8 in Parliament. The Cabinet subcommittee discussed ways and means of addressing the problems caused by the crude price hike.

The PM’s Office said that ministers had discussed how to sustain public relief in the wake of further increase in expenditure. The subcommittee discussed the financial problems of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), among other things. The PM’s Office said that ministers had discussed how to sustain public relief in the wake of further increase in expenditure. The subcommittee discussed the financial problems of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), among other things. (RK)

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HRC asks IGP to explain how he intended to stop deaths of suspects in police custody



Report called by June 13

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Human Rights Commission has sought an explanation from IGP C.D. Wickremaratne as regards continuing deaths in police custody.

In a letter dated June 8, 2021, HRC Chairman Dr. Jagath Balasuriya has raised the recent deaths in police custody with the focus on two incidents involving Panadura and Batticaloa police.

HRC Acting Director Research and Monitoring Nihal Chandrasiri told The Island that the June 8 dated letter was the latest missive addressed to the IGP regarding this particular issue since the formation of the new HRC following the last general election in August 2020.

Chandrasiri made available to The Island, a copy of Dr. Balasuriya’s letter addressed to IGP Wickremaratne.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in late Dec 2020 named former lawmaker Balasuriya as the Chairman of the HRC comprising· Dr. M.H. Nimal Karunasiri, Dr. Vijitha Nanayakkara, Ms. Anusuya Shanmuganathan and H.K. Navaratne Weraduwa.

Chandrasiri said that the HRC first took up deaths in police custody in the wake of the killing of Dinithi Melan alias Uru Juwa, who had been arrested by the Nawagamuwa police, and Dharmakeerthi Tharaka Perera Wijesekara alias Kosgoda Tharaka in the second week of May 2021.

Civil society activist attorney-at-law Senaka Perera told The Island that continuing deaths in police custody should be examined against the backdrop of a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka delivered that the extra-judicial killing of a suspect in police custody violated the right to life, in spite of the absence of an explicit right to life clause  in the Constitution of Sri Lanka.

According to Dr. Balasuriya’s letter, reportage of the deaths of Chandana Vidushan and Ali Khan in the custody of the Batticaloa police and Panadura (North) police, respectively, prompted the HRC to take up the matter with the IGP. Declaring that the HRC has initiated an inquiry in terms of Section 14 of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka Act, No.21 of 1996, Dr. Balasuriya said that inquiries revealed both victims suffered cruel and inhuman treatment in the hands of the police, leading to their deaths?.

Expressing serious concern over what he called the absence of safety and security of those in police custody, Dr. Balasuriya has pointed out to the IGP relevant sections of the Constitution, in addition to Supreme Court rulings in respect of such matters and two letters dated Oct 21, 2020 and  March 17, 2021 that dealt with the issue at hand.

Asserting that continuing deaths in police custody resulted in deterioration of public confidence in law and order, such incidents underscored the threat to what he called public freedom. Having reminded the IGP that the HRC intervened in terms of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka Act, No.21 of 1996, Dr. Balasuriya has requested the IGP to submit a report to him of measures he intended to introduce to prevent deaths in police custody by or before June 13.

In the wake of several killings in police custody, Romesh de Silva, PC, recently moved the Court of Appeal on behalf of convicted heroin dealer Gampola Vidanalage Samantha Kumara alias Wele Suda held at maximum security Boossa prison. President’s Counsel successfully argued against the police taking Wele Suda into their custody.  

President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) President’s Counsel Saliya Pieris has appeared in the Court of Appeal on behalf of Janith Madushankar alias Podi Lassi. Having brought to the notice of justices, Sobitha Rajakaruna and Dhammika Ranepola, the most recent killings in police custody of ‘Uru Juwa’ and ‘Kosgoda Tharaka,’ Peiris sought the court’s intervention to ensure his client’s safety and security.

The lawyer has requested that the court direct the IGP to transfer his client from the custody of the CID to another unit.



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Health trade union alliance claims their strike a success



By Rathindra Kuruwita

Senior health officials including doctors benefited from the current health crisis, Health Services Trade Union Alliance (HSTUA) President Saman Rathnapriya said yesterday commenting on the trade union action resorted to by a number of health sector unions, excluding the GMOA.

Rathnapriya maintained that the strike was a success and non-health sector unions  too had supported them because what he called unfair increases in allowances received by doctors affected the entire state sector. The allowance given to doctors had been increased by 78%, from Rs. 41,220 to Rs. 78,120, however other categories had not received any increase in their allowances, he said.

“Our union action was a success, but we are not happy we had to do this. Nurses and other staffers have not received any increase in their allowances although they too are contributing greatly in the fight against COVID-19. The Health Ministry is unnecessarily creating issues by giving a colossal allowance increase to the doctors,” Rathnapriya said.

College of Medical Laboratory Science (CMLS) President Ravi Kumudesh said that the doctors held top positions in the Health Ministry and for many years they had been ignoring the salaries and allowances of other employees.

“They not only mistreat us but create new issues, testing our patience. Throughout this pandemic you can see this. They get all the perks and have even their family members vaccinated. They are taking advantage of the fact that we are exercising patience in view of the pandemic,” Kumudesh said.

Kumudesh added that the union action had not affected the anti-COVID-19 programme, cancer, maternity and paediatric hospitals, etc.

“We are not doing this to inconvenience the people. We are trying to ensure that the Health Ministry does not create additional problems,” he said

President of All Ceylon Management Service Officer’s Union, Udeni Dissanayake said that they too supported the trade union action because the actions of the GMOA would have an adverse impact on the entire state sector.

Doctors had received certain perks in recent years, and they had contributed to salary anomalies and inequality of remuneration across the board, he said.

“Doctors were treated with great respect in our culture, and this is being eroded by the actions of the GMOA. They have been receiving allowances increased and after a while those of similar standing in other sectors, too, ensure that they get hikes, but those in the lower grades do not see any increase. Although we are not a health sector union, we fully support this action for two reasons. One is that the cause is just and the other is that the impact of the allowance hike given solely  to the doctors will soon be felt by us,” Dissanayake said.

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