Case against Tissa Attanayake : Fifteen witnesses including President, PM to appear in Court today

Fifteen prosecution witnesses including President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe are to appear before Colombo High Court today (20) to testify in the case against UNP former General Secretary Tissa Attanayake for allegedly displaying a fraudulent document to the media during the last Presidential Election for the purpose of affecting the results of then Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena.

On December 5, 2016, the Colombo High Court had issued summons on 15 witnesses including the President and Prime Minister to give evidence as the prosecution witnesses in the case.

UNP former General Secretary Tissa Attanayake had been arrested and held in remand custody for allegedly displaying a fraudulent document to the media during the last Presidential Election with the intention of inciting racial or religious hatred among ethnic communities. He is currently out on bail.

The accused had been charged under Section 3(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act No. 56 of 2007. This is the first time in Sri Lanka that an accused had been indicted in the High Court by the Attorney General for an offence that comes under the ICCPR Act. Additional Solicitor General Wasantha Navaratne Bandara PC with Senior State Counsel Lakmini Girihagama are to lead evidence on behalf of the Attorney General.

The Attorney General alleged that Tissa Attanayake had publicly announced on December 22, 2014 that there was a secret agreement between the then Common Opposition Candidate Maithripala Sirisena and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The Attorney General alleged Tissa Attanayake committed an offence under Section 3(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act No. 56 of 2007 by inciting racial or religious hatred among ethnic communities.

Section 3(1) of the ICCPR cites that no person shall propagate war or advocate national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to cause discrimination, hostility or violence.

The AG further alleged that Tissa Attanayake had committed a punishable offence under Sections 454 and 459 of the Penal Code by forging a document and displaying it to the public as genuine and that the accused had also committed an offence under Section 80-C of the Presidential Election Act for displaying a fake document prior to an election, for the purpose of affecting the result of that election in relation to the personal character or conduct of any candidate. The AG has listed 15 persons including President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as witnesses in the case.


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