2022.09.16-Ex-Sri Lanka Prez Maithripala Sirisena suspect in 2019 Easter bombings that killed 269
Sri Lanka’s former president Maithripala Sirisena named a suspect in 2019 Easter Sunday bombings in which 269 people, including 11 Indians, were killed. The Colombo Fort magistrate’s court, which pronounced the judgment, accused Maithripala Sirisena of neglecting intelligence reports on the impending attack leading to the bombings.
Maithripala Sirisena will now have to appear in the court on October 14.
The former president was earlier held responsible for the attack by a probe panel he was forced to appoint following pressure from the Catholic Church and the relatives of the victims.
Maithripala Sirisena has, however, denied the allegations.
On 21 April, 2019, nine suicide bombers belonging to the local Islamist extremist group National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ) linked to Islamic State (IS) carried out a series of blasts. Eight bomb blasts tore through the state, including three churches and luxury hotels, killing 269 people and injuring over 500.
The special presidential probe had also found a host of other top defence officials, including former police chief Pujith Jayasundera and former defence secretary Hemasiri Fernando, guilty of ignoring prior intelligence. The presidential report had also recommended criminal action against Sirisena and the other officials.
Ousted president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who became President succeeding Sirisena, came under pressure to implement the findings of the probe panel where the former president was found culpable of committing the crime. Rajapaksa, however, refused to act as Sirisena had by then became the chair of the ruling SLPP coalition.
Friday’s court order came as a result of a plaint filed by a victim alongside the National Catholic Committee for Justice to Easter Sunday Attack Victims.