No escape for Easter terror suspects | Daily News
Public Security Minister assures Parliament:

No escape for Easter terror suspects

No room for any legal loopholes :
108 arrested, 75 under detection orders:
50 suspects extradited from overseas:

In his winding up speech on the Report of the Presidential Commission appointed to investigate the Easter Sunday attacks (Easter PCoI), Public Security Minister Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara said that 108 persons had been arrested over the Easter Sunday attacks and 75 are being held under detention orders as investigations continue.

Out of the 54 held in custody overseas, 50 have already been repatriated and further investigations are continuing against many of them. “As the Easter PCoI Report has been handed over to the Attorney General (AG), he has appointed a competent set of lawyers to file the charges against them. Hence, it is unfair to blame the President or the Government over the delay in filing charges against the perpetrators as the matter is now in the hands of the AG. However, if there is a slight delay, that is certainly because the AG’s Department is meticulously preparing legal action against them making sure that there are no loopholes which the perpetrators could use to escape.”

The Minister noted that the police have sent eight files with regard to 32 persons who were involved with Easter attacks to the AG for onward legal action.

In the Easter Sunday attacks, 276 were killed and over 500 persons were injured. He said that it is ironic that the Opposition is trying to point fingers at the current Government over the Easter attacks whereas had they taken proper precautions and heeded the intelligence warnings, this terrible attack could have been averted. However, Minister Weerasekara noted that after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa came to power the investigations picked up pace and now within a short period those responsible would be charged.

He stressed that all members of the previous regime should be held responsible for the Easter attacks as they had all failed in their duty to prevent the attacks despite intelligence warnings being made available to them.

 “In some instances, when intelligence services had identified persons who were directly involved in these extremist activities, they were simply brought to the police for a statement and then released. Who ordered these persons to be released?,” he questioned.

The Minister noted that just five days before the deadly attacks when Zaharan’s clan had tested and exploded a motorcycle in Kattankudy, the then Government failed to take action. Had they taken proper action, the Easter Sunday attacks could have been prevented, he said. Weerasekara said, “Who did this, who funded the attack and what was their motive has been identified through the investigations. No matter who they are, those responsible will be brought before the law. I guarantee it,” he added.

Minister Weerasekara categorically denied claims that the Defence Ministry or the intelligence services had paid wages to Zaharan or his disciples prior to 2015, adding that if anyone can prove such allegations, they should come forward and do so instead of making irresponsible statements.

“After 2016 the Ibahim brothers had provided Zaharan Rs. 50 million to proceed from extremist ideology to extremist violence. Of that we recovered 30 million of that money from the possession of Zaharan and his disciples,” he noted.