BASL tells Court: SIS sent 97 reports to IGP on ISIS | Daily News
SC hears petitions on Easter bombings:

BASL tells Court: SIS sent 97 reports to IGP on ISIS

Seventeen SIS reports sent to Def. Secy:

The Director of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) had forwarded no less than 97 intelligence reports to IGP Pujith Jayasundara from 2016 onwards with regard to Islamist radicalisation and activities of National Thowheed Jama’ath leader Zahran Hashim, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) informed the Supreme Court yesterday.

President’s Counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardena, appearing for the BASL, stated that SIS Director Police DIG Nilantha Jayawardena had disclosed this while submitting an affidavit in this regard. He told court that the SIS Director had forwarded 17 intelligence reports to the Defence Secretary in 2018 and 2019 over imminent terrorist attacks. The Secretary to the Defence Ministry at that time was Hemasiri Fernando.

These disclosures were made when twelve Fundamental Rights petitions filed on the Easter Sunday attacks were yesterday taken up before a fuller bench of the Supreme Court, comprising seven judges. These petitions were fixed for further submissions today (4).

Police DIG Jayawardena stated that the main respondents, including the IGP and former Defence Secretary, had blatantly failed to take action to avert the attack, despite such information being available including the all details of the perpetrators.

‘As reported by the ‘Hindustan Times’ (newspaper) it was on April 4, 2019, that the Indian National Intelligence Agency had informed the State Intelligence Service that Zaharan Hashim had planned an attack targeting important churches in Sri Lanka. In response, Director SIS, by letter dated 07/04/2019, had informed the Director CNI, Sisira Mendis. Thereafter, a letter dated 09/04/2019, had been issued to the the IGP informing of the possible attack. Most significantly, the letter filed along with the affidavit of former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando, categorically identifies the names, national identity card numbers, places of residence, accomplices of the perpetrators. However, it was highlighted that despite such information being available, the Respondents in the case had blatantly failed to take steps to avert the attack, DIG Jayawardena said.

During his oral submissions, counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardena PC emphasised the necessity of a centralized security mechanism that will ensure that similar incident will not occur again. He further submitted to Court the need for adequate reparations for the families of the deceased and the injured owing to the bomb blasts.

The SIS Director highlighted the attribution of liability from the apex level of the Government structure.

The attribution of liability should not be limited to officers attached to the Department of Police, the Inspector General of Police, Chief of National Intelligence, Director of State intelligence Service, but also especially to the President, the Prime Minister, the Cabinet of Ministers and the State Minister of Defence,’ Jayawardena added.

The seven-judge-bench comprised Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justice Buwaneka Aluwihare, Justice Sisira de Abrew, Justice Priyantha Jayawardena, Justice Prasanna Jayawardena Justice L.T.B. Dehideniya and Justice Murdu Fernando.

President’s Counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardena with counsel Dilumi de Alwis, Lakmini Warusevitane, Milhan Mohamed, Niranjan Arulpragasam and Rukshan Senadheera appeared for the BASL. Further hearing to be resumed from today (04).

The Chief Justice has nominated a fuller bench comprising seven judges of the Supreme Court to hear several Fundamental Rights petitions filed over the Easter Sunday attack. The Attorney General, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) and several other parties had filed motions seeking a fuller bench in respect of these petitions since these applications are of public importance.

Through these petitions, petitioners are pleading an order to prosecute those who directly or indirectly were responsible for the terrorist attacks. They are also claiming compensation for the victims of the terrorist attacks.

Several Fundamental Rights petitions including a petition filed by a father of two deceased children who died during Easter Sunday attack were taken up for hearing at a previous occasion.

In his petition, petitioner Saman Nandana Sirimanne, the father of late Medha Sathsarani Sirimanne, 21, and late Imesh Thiwanka Sirimanne, 19, who met an untimely death in the bombing that took place on the April 22, 2019 at Shrine of St. Anthony Church, Kochchikade filed this FR petition seeking an order to investigate and prosecute the Inspector General of Police and former Defence Secretary under the Penal Code.

The petitioner stated that the late Medha Sathsarani Sirimanne, 21, was an undergraduate of the external degree programme of the Kelaniya University. The petitioner stated that his late son Imesh Thivanka Sirimanne aged 19 was to go for the GCE (A/L) examination in 2019.

The petitioner stated that late Thathsarani and late Umesh had gone to the Shrine of St. Anthony’s Church, Kochchikade, in order to pray for upcoming exams and obtain blessings. Though they are both Buddhists the Shrine of St. Anthony’s Church, Kochchikade was a preferred place for prayers not only by the Catholics but by people of all religions.

The petitioner stated that his two children died due to the bomb blast took place at of St. Anthony’s Church, Kochchikade leaving the petitioner to face the sudden and unexpected loss of both his children at the prime of their youth.

The petitioner stated that the petitioner as well as every citizen of this country is entitled for right of equality before the law and equal protection of the law as the Article 12 (1) of the constitution of the republic as a Fundamental Rights.

The petitioner seeks to challenge inter alia the persistent failure on the part of the Inspector General of Police and former Defence Secretary to investigate and failure to take appropriate steps to safeguard the public security.

The petitioner stated that at least 359 people were killed including at least 37 foreign nationals and three police officers and at least 500 were injured during series of coordinated terrorist suicide bombings at three Christian Churches and three luxury hotels.

The petitioner alleged that the respondents had received an intelligence memo warning about possible suicide bomb attacks on churches, other places of financial and economically vital places being planned by Mohammed Zaharan, the leader of an extremist National Islamist group called Thawheed Jamath.

President’s Counsel Faiz Mustafa, Manohara de Silva PC, Saliya Peiris PC, Sanjeewa Jayawardena PC, Senior Counsel Gamini Perera, Chrishmal Warnasuriya appeared for the petitioners.

Attorney General Dappula de Livera PC, Additional Solicitor General Indika Demuni de Silva, ASG Farzana Jameel PC, Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle, Senior State Counsel Avanthi Perera, State Counsel Induni Punchihewa and State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne appeared for the Attorney General.

Senior Counsel Viran Corea appeared for the IGP. President’s Counsel Anuja Premaratne appeared for former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando.

 

 


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