Ex-SL police chief, Defence Secy, acquitted from 2019 Easter Sunday attacks

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Sri Lankas former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Pujitha Wijesundara who were charged on criminal negligence of duty by failing to prevent the 2019 Easter Sunday terror attacks despite receiving specific intelligence information from India, were acquitted on Friday.

Fernando and Wijesundara who were charged in two separate cases were acquitted by the three judge High Court bench due to lack of evidence.

They were separately charged on 855 counts each and were accused of criminal dereliction of duty for failing to take action to prevent the Easter attacks on three star-class hotels and three churches.

At the end of prosecution case, the High Court judges acquitted the two accused without calling the defence trial.

The court held that the two accused had shared the intelligence information they received from a foreign island to their subordinates and ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove the charges beyond reasonable doubts.

During the investigation and Presidential Commission it was revealed that India had shared several specific intelligent information with Sri Lanka, starting from April 4, 2019 and last was on the morning of the attacks.

In the intelligent alerts it was stated that apart from churches, the Indian High Commission in Colombo too could be a target.

Meanwhile Sri Lanka’s Catholic church complained lack of transparency in investigation and demanded action be taken against former President Maithripala Sirisena and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who according to a commission of inquiry finding, were culpable for the failures to prevent the attack.

Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith who charged the government of witch-hunting the activists who demand justice for the attack has warned that the church has already complained to the Vatican and would go to international human rights organization to find justice for the victims.

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