Easter bombing siblings’ father and brother granted bail

  • Released on bail by Colombo HC after nearly three years  

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

The father and brother of Mohamed Ibrahim Ilham Ahmed and Mohamed Ibrahim Inshaf Ahmed – the two brothers who carried out the suicide bombings at the Shangri-La Hotel and the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo, respectively, on 21 April 2019 – who were in remand custody for nearly three years in connection with the said attacks, were granted bail yesterday (25).

The two suspects, including the bombers’ father Mohamed Yusuf Mohamed Ibrahim and brother Mohamed Ibrahim Hijaz Ahmed, were produced before the Colombo High Court (HC) yesterday, where they were released on bail by Colombo High Court Judge Navaratne Marasinghe. However, the judge barred the suspects from travelling abroad, and ordered the suspects to appear before the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on the first and last Sunday of each month.

The duo was ordered to be released on the grounds that one suspect is undergoing an emergency eye surgery, while the other suspect is the father of two children.

The judge further announced that there are no specific reasons for the other brother of the bombers, Mohamed Ibrahim Ismail Ahmed, who is currently being held in the Boossa Prison, to be granted bail.

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 (Cinnamon Grand, The Kingsbury, and Shangri-La) were targeted in a series of co-ordinated suicide bombings. Later that day, another two bomb explosions took place at the house of Ibrahim 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.

The two suspects were arrested by the Police in 2019 for allegedly failing to inform the Police and other security forces that Ilham and Inshaf were preparing to launch an attack. They were later remanded after being produced in court for hearings.

Ibrahim’s elder son, Ilham was one of the main financiers of the group which carried out the terror attacks, along with his brother Inshaf. Around 2018, fellow suicide bomber and National Thowheeth Jama’ath organisation Leader Zahran Hashim and the two brothers (Ilham and Inshaf) had discussed sending a sum of Rs. 200 million from Sri Lanka to Syria by boat. 

The Presidential Commission of Inquiry which investigated the Easter Sunday terror attacks, in its final report, had stated that the extent of the radicalisation of Ilham can be fathomed by the fact that he did not send his children to school but taught them at home, that no immunisation was given to the children, that he did not attend even the marriage ceremony of his wife’s brother, and the recovery of an extensive number of extremist religious books from the house following the attacks.