COLOMBO: A court on Wednesday ordered the arrest of Sri Lanka’s top military officer in connection with the abduction and murder of 11 people during the island’s civil war.

Colombo Fort magistrate Lanka Jayaratne directed police to detain Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, Chief of the Defence Staff, for allegedly helping the main person accused in the killings escape prosecution.

Chandana Prasad Hettiarachchi, a navy intelligence officer, was accused of leading a hit squad that kidnapped 11 young men between 2008 and 2009 during the final stages of the war. They are believed to have been murdered while being illegally held by the navy. Their bodies were never found. Hettiarachchi was arrested earlier this month in Colombo after a months-long manhunt that saw an alert issued worldwide.

“There is evidence against Admiral Wijegu­naratne’s role in allowing the accused to evade arrest,” Sri Lanka’s Crim­inal Investigations Dep­ar­tment told the magistrate.

D.K.P. Dissanayake, at the time a spokesman for the navy, is also suspected of involvement. He was arrested last year and is currently on bail.

Police have told the court that Hettiarachchi was also wanted in connection with the 2006 murder of Tamil lawmaker Nadarajah Raviraj.

Published in Dawn, August 30th, 2018

Opinion

Editorial

UNGA speech
25 Sep, 2022

UNGA speech

CRISES test a nation’s resilience but also provide opportunities to rise and move forward. Prime Minister Shehbaz...
Dar’s return
Updated 25 Sep, 2022

Dar’s return

Dar will now be expected by his party to conjure up fiscal space for the govt to start spending ahead of the next elections.
Iran hijab protests
25 Sep, 2022

Iran hijab protests

FOR over a week now, Iran has been witnessing considerable tumult after a young woman died earlier this month in the...
Post-flood economy
Updated 24 Sep, 2022

Post-flood economy

WITH a third of the country — especially Sindh and Balochistan — under water, over 33m people displaced, and...
Panadol shortage
24 Sep, 2022

Panadol shortage

FROM headaches to fever to bodily pain — paracetamol is used ubiquitously in Pakistan as the go-to remedy for most...
Star-struck cops
24 Sep, 2022

Star-struck cops

IN this age of selfies and social media, it is easy to get carried away in the presence of famous people, even if ...