Easter Sunday attacks: Cardinal raps police for release of Rishad’s brother, alleges ‘political deal’

Malcolm Ranjith

The Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday questioned as to how the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had released suspects it had earlier claimed were directly linked to the masterminds of the Easter Sunday terror attacks without subjecting them to judicial process.

Addressing a news conference at the Archbishop’s House, Cardinal Ranjith expressed his “sorrow, sadness and complete refusal to accept” the conduct of the CID regarding the investigation into the Easter Sunday attacks.

His comments followed the CID this week releasing Riyad Bathiudeen, brother of former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, after five months in custody. At the time of his arrest on April 14, the police had claimed Mr. Bathiudeen had direct links to the plotters.

Alluding to the developments, the Cardinal noted that some of the suspects whom the CID had earlier alleged had close connection with terror leaders and were even involved in business ventures with them, had suddenly become “Saints” and been released.

“Five months ago, they said that there was plenty of evidence to show that the suspect directly associated with the Easter Sunday plotters. The CID even told us that it had phone records between the suspect and the plotters. How can it now say it has no evidence?” he questioned.

He added that the actions “are completely contrary to the assurances given to us by the rulers and also smack of a political deal.”

Police Spokesman Jaliya Senaratne defended the actions of the police. He told the Sunday Times that though the suspect had been arrested due to suspicion regarding his links to the Easter attack plotters, investigations conducted over five months had shown that there was no evidence to link him to those involved. “If the CID finds new evidence to link him to the case, he will be rearrested,” SSP Senaratne said.

(Source: The Sunday Times)