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Indictments against former Sri Lankan Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda to be withdrawn – AG

The Attorney General today informed the Court of Appeal that the indictments filed against former Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda at Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar in connection with the abduction of eleven persons will be withdrawn.
Senior State Counsel Awanthi Perera appearing for the Attorney General made these remarks when the writ petition filed by Admiral of the Fleet Wasantha Karannagoda was called before Court of Appeal two-judge-bench comprising Justice Sobhitha Rajakaruna and Justice Dhammika Ganepola.

The Senior State Counsel informed the Court that the Attorney General has taken a decision to withdraw the indictments filed against Karannagoda and this decision is to be conveyed to the High Court in due course.

The Court of Appeal has already issued an Interim Order staying the proceedings against the former Navy Commander Karannagoda in a case filed against him at Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar. This interim order will be effective until the final determination of this writ petition.

The Attorney General had filed indictments against former Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda and 13 others in connection with alleged abduction, torture, extortion and conspiracy to murder 11 persons in 2008 and 2009.

In his writ petition, Karannagoda stated that the interest of Nishantha Silva who conducted investigations was to embarrass Prime Minister Rajapaksa and President Rajapaksa on the basis that the Petitioner is perceived to be a close associate of theirs.

The Petitioner also states that the said Nishantha Silva had offered to release suspects under criminal investigation if they would testify against the Petitioner and the former Secretary to the Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Karannagoda stated that Nishantha Silva had acted with evident bias and mala fides against the Petitioner. Karannagoda further states that the said Nishantha Silva is now a fugitive from justice and is said to have claimed political asylum in Switzerland.

The petitioner maintained that he is being victimized for political reasons and as a political vendetta. He further stated that there is no evidence whatsoever to charge him of an offence.

The Petitioner states he verily believes that officers of the Attorney General’s Department have entered minutes stating that the Petitioner cannot be indicted on the evidence.

He further states that the entire investigation of the Petitioner inter alia by Nishantha Silva was characterized by malice and mala fides and was motivated by improper considerations including political considerations. The Petitioner maintained  that in the circumstances, the Petitioner’s right to fair trial has been irrevocably violated.

On 24th of January, 2020, the High Court served indictments on 13 accused including Navy intelligence officials in connection with the abduction, torture, extortion and conspiracy to murder eleven persons in 2008 and 2009.

Accordingly, indictments consisting of 667 counts under Penal Code were served on thirteen accused except former Navy Commander  Wasantha Karannagoda who has been named as the fourteenth accused




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