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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Catholic Bishops’ Conference contradicts Ranil Rajapaksa’s statement on AG’s extension

Alleging an attempt to misuse the 2019 Easter Sunday terror attacks and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka (CBCSL) to secure a service extension for incumbent Attorney General (AG), President’s Counsel Sanjay Rajaratnam, the CBCSL has disassociated itself from any involvement in the matter.

Media reports have indicated that a service extension has been recommended by President Ranil Wickremesinghe for Rajaratnam PC due to his purported involvement in the investigations and legal affairs related to the Easter Sunday terror attacks. Wickremesinghe is reported to have informed a group of Parliamentarians who inquired about the matter that the current AG is playing a significant role, including purportedly collaborating with the CBCSL.

Issuing a statement in this regard yesterday (6), the CBCSL President, Reverend Dr. Harold Anthony Perera, and CBCSL Secretary Rev. J.D. Anthony said that they are astounded at the fact that recent reports imply that Wickremesinghe is unreasonably making use of the Easter Sunday terror attacks and exploiting the CBCSL to seek an extension of the AG’s term. “We wish to add with concern that Rajaratnam PC was in fact appointed as the AG in May 2021. For the last 36 months, he has failed to even implement the series of recommendations clearly set out in the Presidential Commission of Inquiry report. During his term, the Catholic Church has called on him to intervene and serve justice to the victims of the terror attacks, but such requests have been continuously disregarded and not been acted upon by him.” Emphasising that the CBCSL has nothing to do with the proposed service extension for the AG, the CBCSL stated that Wickremesinghe’s intention to seek an extension by making use of the Easter Sunday terror attacks and the CBCSL is condemned. They also added that the CBCSL is concerned with a statement which is alleged to have been made by the President that if anyone wishes to question the service extension for the AG, they should direct their questions to the CBCSL.

When contacted by The Daily Morning on Wednesday (5), a Constitutional Council (CC) member confirmed that they have received a recommendation from the President to grant a six months service extension to Rajaratnam PC. However, he said that the CC did not reach a decision whether to approve it or not at its meeting last week, and that therefore, a final decision would be reached during its next meeting.

The Morning.

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