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Sri Lanka court orders re-arrest of ex-police chief, defence secretary in Easter Sunday attacks


SRI_LANKA

COLOMBO: The Colombo high court on Wednesday ordered the re-arrest of ex-defense secretary Hemasiri Fernando and suspended police chief Pujith Jayasundera, exactly three months after they were granted bail by a local court which ruled there was no basis for their arrests for allegedly failing to prevent the Easter Sunday attacks.

Both Fernando and Jayasundera were arrested in July after Attorney General Dappula de Livera instructed the authorities to charge them for their failure to prevent the Easter terror attacks that claimed 258 lives.

On July 9, they were granted bail by Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne who said that the judiciary was not obliged to keep people in jail to please the wishes of the police or anyone else.

The Colombo high court on Wednesday ordered their re-arrest and the duo has been remanded until October 23. The re-arrest order has come as a result of a revision application filed by the Attorney General.

Jayasundera and Fernando were suspended by President Sirisena for their alleged inaction on the intelligence shared by India, which warned of an impending attack by Islamic militants, and thereby, failing to prevent the suicide bombings on April 21.

Sirisena had appointed a three-member panel to probe the negligence by the top officials despite the availability of intelligence inputs on the impending attacks.

The two were accused of negligence by Sirisena's panel report. Nine other senior policemen were also charged with negligence.

Both Jayasundera and Fernando have testified before an ongoing parliamentary probe panel on the attacks. They claimed that there was a discounting of the seriousness of the threat at the very highest level.

The suicide attacks carried out by local Jihadi group National Thowheed Jammath (NTJ) linked to ISIS caused a political ripple as both Sirisena and his Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was criticized for failing to prevent the attacks.

The Opposition blamed the government's inability to prevent suicide bombings due to the ongoing power struggle between Sirisena and Wickremesinghe.

Sirisena slammed the parliamentary probe as one to pin blame on him and accused Prime Minister Wickremesinghe of being the mover behind the panel. Wickremesinghe said he had been excluded from attending the national security council by Sirisena since October last year.

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)