The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) yesterday said they were confident of facing legal challenges directed at their presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and said they have faith in the Judiciary to deliver a just decision.
A three-judge bench of the Court of Appeal (CA) yesterday commenced hearings on the Writ challenging Rajapaksa’s Sri Lankan citizenship.
Speaking to media at the Viyath Maga Head Office, SLPP Spokesman MP Dullas Alahapperuma said Rajapaksa had obtained dual citizenship in 2005 in accordance with law.
He argued that the entire sequence of events related to dual citizenship was a 15-year-old issue, and in his view, it was a baseless and irrelevant accusation.
According to Alahapperuma, Rajapaksa’s legal team is prepared to present evidence to prove his innocence, and insisted he had not broken any law when he was obtaining dual citizenship.
“According to my view, this is an attempt to block Rajapaksa from contesting the upcoming Presidential Election. This is an unfortunate incident, as those who pledged to protect democratic rights in 2015 are now attempting to block him from contesting the Presidential Election,” Alahapperuma said.
Alahapperuma charged that the United National Party (UNP) had been trying block Rajapaksa from contesting the upcoming Presidential Election by pushing ahead cases concerning his citizenship, as his opponents could not defeat him through the election.
He argued that the alleged telephone conversation between interdicted Solicitor General Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe and Avant Garde Maritime Services Ltd. Chairman Nissanka Senadhipathi had proven that the Government had used its power to prevent Rajapaksa from contesting the Presidential Election.
Referring to a Sunday newspaper interview given by former Solicitor General Suhada Gamlath, Alahapperuma alleged that the interview proves that a political witch-hunt is being carried out against the Rajapaksas. He claimed that the Government had been influencing the Attorney General’s (AG) Department to take legal action against the Rajapaksa family, even though there was no clear reason to do so.
Alahapperuma also said Rajapaksa was advised to avoid facing the media based on legal advice. He said Rajapaksa will speak to media after his legal matters are settled.