A Sri Lankan court on Friday named former President Maithripala Sirisena as a suspect 2019 easter bombings In which 270 people including 11 Indians were killed.
The Colombo Fort magistrate’s court, which pronounced the verdict, accused Sirisena of ignoring intelligence reports on the impending attack leading to the bombings.
The court has now ordered 71-year-old Sirisena to appear before it on October 14.
Sirisena is accused of ignoring warnings on the attacks and not ordering preventive action due to political differences with his then prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The former president, previously held responsible for the attack by an investigative panel, was forced to appoint him after pressure from the Catholic Church and the victims’ relatives. He had denied the allegations against him.
Other top defense officials, including former police chief Pujit Jayasundara and former defense secretary Hemasiri Fernando, were also found guilty of ignoring prior intelligence in the special presidential probe. The panel’s report recommended criminal action against Sirisena and other officials.
Deposed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who succeeded Sirisena, was also under pressure to implement the findings of the investigation panel, where Sirisena was found guilty of committing the crime. However, he refused to act as Sirisena had become the chairman of the ruling SLPP coalition by then.
Friday’s court order came as a result of a suit filed by a victim with the National Catholic Committee for Justice for Easter Sunday Attack Victims.
On April 21, 2019, Nine suicide bombers belonging to the National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ), a local Islamic extremist group affiliated with ISIS, carried out a series of explosions at three churches and several luxury hotels in Sri Lanka, killing and injuring 270 people. Went. more than 500.
The attack triggered a political storm as the then government led by President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe was blamed for its inability to stop the attacks despite providing prior intelligence.
On the third anniversary of the Easter terror attack in April, the then Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa vowed that the Sri Lankan government would not rest until the perpetrators of the 2019 attacks were brought to justice. A month later, Mahinda had to step down in May following massive protests against anti-government protesters over attacks by his supporters.
The families of the victims of the Easter attacks, led by the head of the local church, Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, have criticized the slow pace of the investigation, which they claim is a political ploy to hide.
Cardinal Ranjit has been regularly expressing his dismay at the police investigation and its slow nature.