Sirisena did not instruct NSC to arrest Zahran before 2019 | Daily News
Former Minister Sagala Ratnayaka tells PCoI probing Easter Sunday attacks:

Sirisena did not instruct NSC to arrest Zahran before 2019

Former Minister of Law and Order Sagala Ratnayaka yesterday agreed that former President Maithripala Sirisena did not instruct at the National Security Council (NSC) to arrest Zahran Hashim before 2019.

He was testifying before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) probing the Easter Sunday attacks.

Former President Sirisena on Monday (5) told the PCoI that he ordered the arrest of Zahran only in January 2019.

Ratnayaka was in office from November 2015 to February 2018 and participated in the NSC meetings only during that period.

He also said former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe participated in the NSC meetings at that time but, did not stay until the end. However, he said the former Prime Minister was present at the meetings when the intelligence information was being reviewed.

Ratnayaka also said political and security heads always have to anticipate emergency changes when handling the country's National Security.

"It is like driving a vehicle on local roads," he added.

The former minister said he had received 407 intelligence reports from the State Intelligence Service (SIS) during his tenure. Among them, 13 were regarding ISIS ideology and six were on religious extremism in the country.

He also added that the Department of Immigration and Emigration did not always enforce the blacklist on banned persons very strictly.