Appeal Court decision to grant bail to Shani Abeysekara hugely positive: Amnesty International

In response to today’s (16) appeal court decision to grant bail to Shani Abeysekara, former Director of the CID, and Police sub-inspector Sugath Mendis, Amnesty International expressed via a series of tweets that this decision is, “hugely positive and gives hope that the judiciary won’t allow authorities to target those carrying out investigations into human rights abuses,”

Amnesty International also stated that the Organisation hopes that the Courts will close investigations against Abeysekara, unless there is credible evidence of wrongdoing presented in fair trials.

The Organisation also expressed concerns that most law enforcement officers who were placed under travel bans, transferred, demoted or arrested, were a victim of retaliation by authorities for carrying out investigations including into human rights abuses committed during the armed conflict.

“Abeysekera oversaw the investigations into a number of emblematic human rights cases, including the enforced disappearance of cartoonist Prageeth Ekneligoda, and the enforced disappearance of 11 youth (the “Navy 11”), the killing of journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge among others,” Amnesty International stated.

It was also stated that Amnesty International is of the view that many were moved to positions where they would no longer be able to pursue accountability, further undermining the right to truth, justice and reparations for victims of human rights violations.

Amnesty also stated that both Abeysekara and Mendis contracted Covid-19 while in custody, adding that even though they urged authorities to provide them with adequate medical care, they were initially denied access to such facilities.