HC re-issues summons on President and PM to testify | Daily News
Tissa Attanayake case:

HC re-issues summons on President and PM to testify

HC re-issues
Tissa Attanayake

The Colombo High Court yesterday re-issued summons on President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to appear before the Colombo High Court on January 22 to testify in the case filed 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 result of then common candidate Maithripala Sirisena.

President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday informed through their counsel explaining the difficulties in attending court since they were on official visits to the Seychelles and the UK respectively.

Meanwhile, defence counsel appearing for Tissa Attanayake moved court that the trial against his client be fixed for another date since his senior counsel Kalinga Indatissa, PC, was appearing for another case in the Kurunegala High Court.

Thereby, 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 result of then common candidate Maithripala Sirisena was fixed for trial on January 22 by Colombo High Judge Vikum Kaluarachchi.

Meanwhile, Deputy Solicitor General Dileepa Peiris appearing for the Attorney General complained that Tissa Attanayake made comments regarding case delays during a radio programme aired last Sunday.

He questioned as to how an accused in a case makes comments regarding case delays while making application to postpone trial on the following day.

DSG Peiris further said the witness number six, a journalist at a private television station, is to testify on the next trial date.

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 by inciting racial or religious hatred among ethnic communities. He is currently 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 has been indicted in the High Court by the Attorney General over an offence that comes under the ICCPR Act.

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, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and UNP General Secretary Kabir Hashim as witnesses in the case.

Deputy Solicitor General Dileepa Peiris appeared for the Attorney General. Counsel Chaminda Athukorala with counsel Niroshan Siriwardena appeared for Tissa Attanayake.

Counsel Yasas de Silva with Navin Shanaka appeared for the Prime Minister and UNP General Secretary.

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