By Susitha Fernando
Colombo, Aug 11 (IANS) The Attorney General (AG) of Sri Lanka has filed 23,370 charges against 25 accused in connection with the Easter Sunday multiple attacks that killed 269 people and injured over 500 others on April 21, 2019.
Issuing the indictment, the AG also asked the Chief Justice to appoint a trial-at-bar, considering the gravity of the massacre in which three churches and three hotels were blasted within few minutes from each other by a group of local nationals who claimed to be connected to the ISIS.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Director Legal, Hariguptha Rohanadheera, stated that the accused have been charged for carrying out suicide bomb blasts at eight locations, including three churches and three star hotels in Colombo.
They have also been charged on the counts including conspiracy and aiding and abetting to carry out the mass murder, attempted murder and for collecting ammunition.
They were also indicted under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
“When filing the indictment, the investigators collected all the information relating those who died or got wounded due to the multiple attacks,” Rohanadheera said.
He also said that a detailed report has been sent to Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the head of the Colombo Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church, who had sent a strong-worded letter last month demanding President Rajapaksa to reveal the ‘grand conspiracy’ behind the attacks.
In his letter dated July 13, Cardinal Ranjith had complained that the government was trying to sweep the truth relating to those responsible for the Easter Sunday attacks under the carpet.
The 20-page letter signed by eight bishops, including Cardinal Ranjith, and 28 priests demanded that legal action be taken again former President Maithripala Sirisena and action be taken against ex-Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for their soft approach towards Islamic terrorism.
Cardinal Ranjith complained that Sri Lankan intelligence ignored the comprehensive information given in advance by the Indian intelligence agencies on the series of attacks.
Forwarding a detailed report on the indictment and the investigation to Cardinal Ranjith, the President’s Legal Director has assured that all necessary actions have been taken to investigate those behind the Easter Sunday attacks.
By Susitha Fernando