FR filed alleging imminent arrest to be heard on 8 Nov.
BY Buddhika SamaraweeraNational Catholic Social Communication Centre Director and St. Anne’s Church, Kurana, Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando, who was scheduled to appear before the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) yesterday (3), had informed the CID that he would not appear before the CID as he has already filed a fundamental rights (FR) petition in the Supreme Court (SC).A letter to the CID’s Special Unit’s Officer-In-Charge (OIC) Chief Inspector of Police (CI) Lalitha Dissanayake by Fernando’s legal representatives, which was seen by The Morning, read: “Our client has already filed a FR application in the SC complaining that there is an imminent infringement of the FR guaranteed to him under Articles 12 (equality and equal protection), 13 (1) (freedom from arbitrary arrest) and 14 (1) (a) (speech and expression) of the Constitution, when he appears before the CID.”The letter further stated that since Fernando would abide by the directions given by the SC in this regard, he would not be appearing before the CID yesterday.Meanwhile, the SC will hear the FR petition filed by Fernando requesting for an order to be issued preventing him from being arrested, on 8 November.Fernando, on Tuesday (2), filed a FR petition in the SC seeking an order staying the CID and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandana D. Wickramaratne and any other police officer from arresting him.CI Dissanayake, CID Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Rohan Premaratne, CID Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) W. Thilakaratne, IGP Wickramaratne, State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Maj. Gen. Suresh Sallay, Colombo Archbishop His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, and Attorney General (AG) President’s Counsel Sanjay Rajaratnam have been named as the respondents.In the application, he has claimed that the purpose of CI Dissanayake, who is the first respondent, in sending a notice requesting him to appear before the CID on 28 October, without disclosing the fact that he was being suspected of having committed serious offences, is not only for the purpose of recording a statement from him, but to also arrest him when he appears before the CID.“The petitioner also believes that the purpose of CI Dissanayake in planning to arrest him is for the purpose of stifling the Catholic clergy and the public expressing their opinion on the Easter Sunday massacre (a series of bomb blasts that took place on 21 April 2019) and thereby preventing everyone from agitating for the truth behind the Easter Sunday terror attacks,” it added.A complaint was filed at the CID against Fernando and others who attended a recent online forum, by Sallay, on 25 October, requesting an investigation into an allegation made against him during the said forum that the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) terror group, which was behind the Easter Sunday terror attacks, was supported by the intelligence services, including him (Sallay), who was the then Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) Director.Accordingly, the CID informed the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court on 27 October that an investigation would be initiated into the complaint, after which Colombo Chief Magistrate Buddhika Sri Ragala ordered the CID to commence the relevant investigation and inform the court of its progress.During the said discussion between the Catholic church and a group of Sri Lankans living abroad, a presentation was made, which alleged that there is credible evidence that Sallay and other intelligence agencies had provided financial and other forms of support to the NTJ group, including its Leader Mohamed Cassim Mohamed Zahran alias Zahran Hashim, prior to 2015. Zahran was one of the suicide bombers at Shangri-La Colombo on 21 April 2019.