BY Pamodi Waravita
United National Party (UNP) Leader and Parliamentarian Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday (4) urged Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena to inquire from Attorney General (AG) President’s Counsel (PC) Sanjay Rajaratnam about the nature of the evidence against Samagi Jana Balawegeya (SJB) Opposition MP Rishad Bathiudeen to justify his prolonged detention in prison.
“The AG has indicted all individuals connected to the Easter Sunday terror attacks and the Government has confirmed this too. Bathiudeen is in jail. If there is evidence that he was involved in the said attacks, then indict him too. The authorities are however also saying that he is being held for fear that he may pressure a separate ongoing legal investigation. That is a serious claim against a MP and if there is sufficient evidence to prove this, then the AG must present it,” said Wickremesinghe in Parliament yesterday.
Wickremesinghe also stressed that this is a matter for the House and therefore urged the Speaker to look into it.
Bathiudeen, was arrested and detained by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on 24 April 2021 under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act No. 48 of 1979 as amended, in connection with his alleged involvement in the Easter Sunday terror attacks.
Further, the Colombo Magistrate’s Court decided to remand Bathiudeen in September 2021 in connection with the death of a 16-year-old domestic worker at his residence in July 2021, stating the possibility of his interference into the investigation of her death.