Bathiudeen claims he is political victim, following Easter charges acquittal
5 months ago
Colombo Fort Magistrate acts on AG’s instructions, as charges cannot be carried forward
BY Buddhika Samaraweera and Buwanajee CoralageFormer Minister, incumbent Samagi Jana Balawegaya Opposition MP and All-Ceylon Makkal Congress Leader Rishad Bathiudeen, who was accused of supporting those who carried out the Easter Sunday terror attacks on 21 April 2019, claimed that he was wrongly accused for political reasons, following his aquittal of all charges by the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court yesterday (2).“I was imprisoned under false accusations directed just to win the Presidential Election, and these accusations also scarred the whole of the Muslim community,” claimed Bathiudeen while commenting to the media yesterday outside the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court.Bathiudeen’s Attorney N.M. Shaheid also claimed that his client was imprisoned for political revenge rather than based on factual evidence, and that this was proven by his acquittal yesterday.The relevant case was taken up before Colombo Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage yesterday. The Magistrate, on the instructions of the Attorney General (AG), ordered the suspect to be acquitted of all charges as the charges against him cannot be carried forward.Bathiudeen had been arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) on the allegation of supporting the bombers who carried out the Easter Sunday terror attacks by aiding and abetting. He was then detained under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act for a period of 111 days. On 14 October 2021, he was released on bail after being produced before the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court.On 21 April 2019, Easter Sunday, three Churches (the St. Sebastian’s Church in Katuwapitiya, the St. Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade, and the Zion Church in Batticaloa) and three luxury hotels in Colombo (the Cinnamon Grand, the Kingsbury, and the Shangri-La) were targeted in a series of coordinated suicide bombings. Later that day, another two bomb explosions took place at a house in Dematagoda, and the Tropical Inn Lodge in Dehiwala. A total of 269 people excluding the bombers were killed in the bombings, including about 45 foreign nationals, while at least 500 were injured.