Sumanthiran says SIS was accused of killing Raviraj

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Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian and senior human rights lawyer M.A. Sumanthiran says the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and Attorney-General’s Department had found evidence pointing to the involvement of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) in the assassination of former Parliamentarian Nadaraja Raviraj.

Additionally, the public prosecutor’s indictment accused some “persons unknown to the prosecution” of being involved in the murder.

“So it was obvious that a few junior-level naval officers had not done this on their own. They are as responsible for carrying out someone’s orders, but it is only one small part of the puzzle. This happened ten years ago and we are still waiting to find out who gave the orders,” Sumanthiran told The Hindu on Sunday.

The acquittal of five persons charged with the murder of the Tamil legislator has renewed scepticism over the credibility of the country’s justice system, particularly in cases involving extra-judicial killings implicating the armed forces.

Following the jury’s verdict, a Sri Lankan court on Saturday acquitted five men, including three Navy intelligence officers, accused of assassinating Raviraj in 2006. A Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian and lawyer, Raviraj had actively sought to engage the Sinhalese on the Tamil national question, addressing them in Sinhala. On 10 November 2006, he and his bodyguard were shot dead on a busy road in Colombo.

Giving evidence during the investigation, a former police constable who turned state witness, claimed that former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa “had arranged a payment of Rs. 50 million to the Karuna faction to murder the MP.”

Karuna Amman, or Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, broke away from the LTTE and was later appointed as Minister during Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidency.

The jury, however, deemed the available evidence insufficient to convict the accused.

The legal process in the murder probe appears fraught with discrepancies, observed lawyers. The case involved two offences — one, under Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and another, a murder charge under the penal code. While the accused naval officers were remanded under the PTA that disallows bail, they were permitted a jury trial under provisions of the ordinary law, even though the PTA disallows trial by jury, said Mr. Sumanthiran.

“Under the PTA, a jury cannot pronounce the verdict as has now been done. It is illegal,” said Mr. Sumanthiran, who appeared for Raviraj’s wife in this case. Some see the recent outcome as a reflection of an apparent ethnic bias against the Tamils in the justice system. “Every time there is a case involving a Tamil leader there is this “us [Sinhalese] versus others [Tamils]” factor that comes into play,” says senior journalist and political commentator Kusal Perera.

“Merely appointing a Tamil as Chief Justice does not challenge the structural biases within the system,” he said, referring to incumbent Chief Justice Kanagasabapathy Sripavan, who was appointed after Sri Lanka’s national unity government came to power in 2015. (Colombo Gazette)

4 COMMENTS

  1. “Under the PTA, a jury cannot pronounce the verdict as has now been done. It is illegal,” said Mr. Sumanthiran, who appeared for Raviraj’s wife in this case. Some see the recent outcome as a reflection of an apparent ethnic bias against the Tamils in the justice system. “Every time there is a case involving a Tamil leader there is this “us [Sinhalese] versus others [Tamils]” factor that comes into play,” says senior journalist and political commentator Kusal Perera.

    The legal process in the murder probe appears fraught with discrepancies, observed lawyers. The case involved two offences — one, under Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and another, a murder charge under the penal code. While the accused naval officers were remanded under the PTA that disallows bail, they were permitted a jury trial under provisions of the ordinary law, even though the PTA disallows trial by jury, said Mr. Sumanthiran.

    So what are you going to do about it, Mr. Sumanthiran??, Sri Lanka Government opposite Leader’s spoke person

  2. Mr.Sumanthiran,you can’t expect justice from the Srilankan goverment,they are going to save all the culprits and cut throats in the forces whatever the attrocities they commited.TNA blindfoldedly support the present goverment but ultimately the TNA will gain nothing.You must know that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

  3. It appears Government Prosecutors were asked to lie low as happened to Dilrukshi Wickremasinghe. Why Prosecution did not object to trial by Jury. Why did Sumanthiran & Co refer the supreme Court at that stage if the trial by Jury is irregular in PTA cases.It is well known some Tamil MP’s were also busy in selling Car Permits to Black money People.

    • MP of TNA Sumantharian is an ideologist of separatism for Tamil Eealm puppet regime in north which has been advocated in different tone now!
      Raviraja has been played vital background role of Gun rule politics of LTTE Terrorism by the time ,since he has been politics of his TNA carriers’ .

      In fact cannot denied by TNA-Sumantarin of
      so-called politics of separatism.

      There was large number of hidden factors of mode of operandi by Ravraj during as MP of TNA politics. Those evidences has not been submitted to court by Prosecutions of that the TNA influence of current UNP-and TNA political alliances.

      Judgement and verdict of Raviraje case is perfectly correct .

      The TNA of Tamils speaking Lawyers that want court of Law and all verdicts must be favourable of their Gun Rule politics to be justified by rule of law.

      This is not that national POLITICS WE ARE EXPECTED FROM TNA? We want TNA has to play role of democracy ,not by encouraging Tamil separatism.

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