Conflicts & War

Police complaint calls for ex-president Rajapaksa’s arrest

Colombo, Sep 9 (EFE).- A group of journalists filed a complaint with Sri Lankan police on Friday, calling for the arrest of ousted president Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The Young Journalist Association (YJA) lodged the online complaint with the Inspector General of Police (IGP).

Rajapaksa returned home last month after weeks in self-exile.

He escaped Sri Lanka in July amid mass protests, flying aboard a military plane to the Maldives before moving to Singapore. He later flew to Thailand before returning home on Saturday.

“He is named in several high-profile cases including the abduction of journalists but as president he had immunity,” said Tharindu Jayawardhana, a spokesperson for the journalists’ group.

He said they urged police chief Chandana Wickramaratne to arrest Rajapaksa if there was sufficient evidence against him.

Rajapaksa, who oversaw a brutal defeat of Tamil Tiger guerrillas to finish the long-running Sri Lankan civil war in 2009, was the secretary of the defense ministry, with his elder brother Mahinda as the president.

Citing rights defenders, the association alleged that the “highest number of human rights violations” occurred during the war.

The Rajapaksas brothers are credited for ending the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The group said Rajapaksa was allegedly directly involved in the assassination of Lasantha Wickrematunge, a senior journalist and editor of a local newspaper.

Another senior journalist, Keith Noir, was abducted and tortured with Rajapaksa as the top defense official.

The YJA cited abductions, torture, and disappearances of other journalists.

Investigations into the cases were stalled after Rajapaksa was voted as president in 2019.

The YJA urged a separate probe into the removal of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officers, who were investigating the cases against Rajapaksa.

A crippling economic crisis prompted thousands to protest against Rajapaksa and his government over mismanagement and corruption earlier this year.

His brother Mahinda Rajapaksa, who served as prime minister, resigned earlier this year after his supporters attacked protesters in Galle Face in Colombo. EFE


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