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Prison raids: Police yet to record State Minister’s statement



MP Rasamanickam says prisoners awaiting transfer to North

By shamindra Ferdinando

Police haven’t yet sought a statement from State Minister of Gem and Jewellery related Industries, Lohan Ratwatte as regards a complaint lodged by the Committee for Protecting Rights of Prisoners, in respect of incidents at the Anuradhapura prison on the evening of Sept. 12.

The civil society group, in its complaint, dated 16 Sept. to the CID, hasn’t referred to the incidents at the Welikada prison, also blamed on the then State Minister of Prison Management and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation, Lohan Ratwatte. The Kandy District lawmaker relinquished State Ministry of Prison Management and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation though he denied ever causing mayhem in both prisons.

However, the Office of Anuradhapura SSP and the Office of Colombo South SP yesterday (6) told The Island that following instructions received from the Office of Senior, DIG, Crimes, they inquired into the incidents and submitted relevant reports. However, they haven’t recorded MP Ratwatte’s statement as there was no requirement to do so at the moment, Colombo South and Anuradhapura police said.

The Office of Senior DIG Crimes said that SSP Anuradhapura and SP Colombo South had been instructed to inquire into the incidents following instructions received from the Inspector General of Police C.D. Wickremaratne.

Public Security Minister Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera on Sept 17 asked IGP Wickremaratne to conduct an inquiry expeditiously into the complaint received on the previous day. Police headquarters acknowledged that there hadn’t been any other complaint, in addition to the one lodged by the Committee for Protecting Rights of Prisoners.

The Island learns that the Police Media hadn’t been so far informed of the progress of the inquiries though the alleged incidents received quite a bit coverage in both print and electronic media.

Authoritative sources said that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) hadn’t been involved in the inquiry though Public Security Ministry statement issued on Sept. Attorney-at-Law Senaka Perera, who lodged the complaint with the CID on behalf of the Committee for Protecting Rights of Prisoners told The Island that the police didn’t seek at least to verify their complaint. The civil society activist said that they weren’t aware of the status of the investigation undertaken by the Human Rights Council and the inquiry conducted by retired High Court judge Kusala Sarojini Weerawardena into the incidents at Anuradhapura and Welikada Prisons.

Justice Minister Ali Sabry, PC, on Sept. 22 announced the appointment of retired Judge Weerawardena to inquire into the incidents. Minister Sabry yesterday told The Island that Ms. Weerawardena visited Anuradhapura prison and the inquiry conducted at the Justice Ministry was underway.

Nihal Chandrasiri, Actg. Director (Research and Monitoring), the media contact at the HRC wasn’t available for comment.

Political and legal sources said that in spite of repeated requests, those who had been threatened at gunpoint by lawmaker Ratwatte continued to be held at the Anuradhapura prison.

ITAK/TNA lawmaker Shanakiyan Rasamanickam who visited those threatened said that they requested immediate transfer to a prison in the north. Unfortunately, their request hadn’t been addressed so far, the Batticaloa District MP told The Island, referring to the assurance given by the Justice Minister Sabry in Parliament that the matter would be given serious consideration. MP Rasamanickam said that they were still hopeful the government would ensure their protection.

The first time entrant to Parliament said that the matter was taken up at an adjournment question yesterday.

The MP declined an offer made by Minister Sabry to move the prisoners concerned to two prisons in the South.


Two-year reconciliation project spurns Lord Naseby’s disclosure



EU, Germany funded scheme costs Rs. 8 mn

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The National Peace Council (NPC) says war-related matters hadn’t been discussed at the nearly two-year-long reconciliation project that brought together students from Eastern, Jaffna, Ruhuna and Sabaragamuwa Universities.

More than 160 students have participated in the project that culminated with a conference on the theme of ‘Plural Sri Lanka: Paths to reconciliation.’ Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris delivered the closing address and responded to questions from the audience.

Pointing out that post-war reconciliation efforts had been badly hampered by allegations that the Sri Lankan military killed over 40,000 civilians on the Vanni east front, The Island sought clarification as regards measures taken by the NPC to improve relations among the communities, and the following questions were raised:

The Island:

During your two-year long project did participants discuss specific war crimes allegations and disclosure made in the House of Lords in Oct 2017 that contradicted unsubstantiated accusations pertaining to 40,000 civilian deaths.

Executive Director NPC Dr. Jehan Perera:

“No, we did not discuss these war-related matters. The project was titled “Creative Youth Engagement for Pluralism” and it focused on the nature of Sri Lanka as a plural society and the value framework that should guide it.  The research papers highlighted the diversity within Sri Lankan society that goes beyond ethnicity and religion.  They included topics such as “Attitudes of Society on Education and Transsexuality: A Comparative Study on the Ideologies of a Community with Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Education,” and “Pluralism and University Subculture: An Ethnological Study on Young Behavior towards Social Cohesion,” and “An Investigative Study of the Challenges Posed by the Changes in the Aboriginal Society.”

The Island:

What is the total cost of the project?


: Rs 8 million was spent to train and mentor the writers of the 30 research publications in four universities, translate, review and publish their findings in book form and for the conference which brought the students to Colombo.

Question 3:

What is the GoSL’s contribution?

The NPC:

There was no direct financial support by the government. Four state universities supported through their faculty members and students.

The Island: What is the NPC’s stand on accountability resolution and announcement made in Geneva that the Sri Lankan military would be subjected to a fresh inquiry?

The NPC:

In order to get out of these allegations, there is a need for a credible and independent investigation. Our preference is for a national mechanism that is acceptable to all sides.  Accountability will need to be a part of the reconciliation process.  NPC favours the restorative justice approach which focuses on ensuring justice to victims. This includes an acknowledgement of wrongs done and reparations and institutional reform to ensure that there is non-recurrence. 

 The Island: Are you also engaged in post-war reconciliation projects funded by Norway?

The NPC:

NPC hasn’t obtained funds from Norway for the past five years.

The recently concluded project has been funded by a project called Strengthening Reconciliation Process here jointly funded by the European Union and the German Federal Foreign Office and implemented by Deutsche Gesellsschaft Fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the British Council in partnership with the Sri Lankan Government.

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Speaker promises to appoint bi-partisan committee to look into incidents in Parliament



Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena announced in Parliament yesterday (06) that a committee consisting of senior members from the Government and Opposition would be appointed within the week to look into the incidents that took place in Parliament last Friday and Saturday and submit a report.

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High Court Trial-at-Bar orders release of several accused from 11 charges in CB bond auction case



By AJA Abeynayake

Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar yesterday ordered the release of several accused, including former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayke and former Central Bank former Governor Arjuna Mahendra, from 11 charges out of 22 in connection with the Central Bank bond auction held on 31 March, 2016.

Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar held that public property charges against the accused could not be maintained. Indictments had been filed against Perpetual Treasuries Private Ltd (PTL), former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayke, CBSL former Governor Arjuna Mahendran, Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) beneficiary owner Arjun Aloysius, PTL Chief dealer Kasun Palisena, Chairman of PTL Jeffrey Joseph Aloysius, Chitta Ranjan Hulugalle, Muthuraja Surendran, Ajahn Gardiye Punchihewa and Badugoda Hewa Indika Saman Kumara in connection with bond auction held on March 31, 2016.

The case against seventh accused Ranjan Hulugalle was dismissed on preliminary objections raised.

President’s Counsel Anil Silva, Counsel Asela Serasinghe, Hafeel Farisz, Sahan Kulatunga and Vishwaka Peiris appeared for the seventh accused.

The Attorney General’s stance regarding the future cause of action to be informed on 26 Jan. 2022.

The Attorney General had alleged that the PTL had been using the Central Bank’s important undisclosed information to alter the final outcome of the Treasury bond auction and it had a huge impact on the overall national economy as a result of the subtle; the systematic conduct of the offences related to the fraud and had caused injustice to other primary sellers in the bond market, and the PTL had acted cunningly and made a huge profit and conspired to cause a huge loss to the government.

The case was postponed until 26 Jan. 2022.

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