Sri Lanka: Statements of a Former President Cause Scandal

Source: FSSPX News

Maithripala Sirisena, who was President of Sri Lanka from January 9, 2015, to November 18, 2019, made waves in the country by claiming to know the true perpetrators or orchestrators of the Easter massacre of 2019.

Summary of the Facts

On April 21, 2019, Easter day, eight attacks targeting two Catholic churches, a Protestant church, three luxury hotels, a bed and breakfast, and a real estate complex, caused the death of 269 people, including 42 foreign nationals, and wounded 500 people. The attacks would be claimed by the Islamic State.

The successive governments led investigations into the attack. There were arrests followed by sentences. But the Catholic Church rejected the State reports on the grounds that they did not identify the orchestrators of the violence. Catholic leaders, including Cardinal Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, Metropolitan Archbishop of Colombo, protested and also called for an international investigation.

Previously, a court had ordered the former President Sirisena to pay 100 million rupees (around $329,790 USD) by way of compensation, for lack of vigilance. Indeed, on April 11, 2019, the Sri Lankan intelligence service had warned that an Islamic movement was planning “suicide attacks against important Catholic churches and the Indian embassy.”

The Former President’s Revelations

As AsiaNews reports, “Speaking to journalists in Kandy, Sirisena [...] said he was willing to reveal circumstances that had hitherto been kept secret.” He said that he requested the Court to protect him and to promise him confidentiality, because the public divulsion of this sensitive information could harm him and his family.

“The suspects who are currently in custody in connection with the bombings are minor offenders. The real perpetrators are still at large. I am ready to shed light on the perpetrators of the Easter Sunday attacks and to make a special statement if I am summoned to court,” he said. He added that he had kept this information secret and that “it is imperative that the judges also keep it secret.”

UCA News reports, “The next day Sirisena clarified further that he came to know about the real culprits just three weeks ago and he had decided to provide a close door testimony to the court considering the sensitivity of the issue.” He agrees to testify behind closed doors. “If the Court summoned me, I'll appear and testify under the confidential agreement. The reason for this arrangement is that I fear the safety of not only myself and my children but also other family members if I were to testify in an open court,” he stated.

The politician’s statements did not go unnoticed. “’If the current government really had courage, former president Maithripala Sirisena should be arrested immediately’ Fr. Rohan Silva, director of the Center for Social and Religions commented in a press conference,” Asia News reports. “Fr. Silva also recalled that the Catholic Church and other groups that support the victims have always maintained ‘that there are masterminds behind these massacres.’”

UCA News continues the story: "’We request the president and the minister of the police and the CID [criminal investigation department] to immediately arrest the former president and begin interrogation and take necessary legal action against him,’ he added.

“Catholic lawmaker Kawinda Jayawardena filed a complaint with the CID, accusing Sirisena of concealing vital information related to the attack for nearly five years. He slammed Sirisena for failing to disclose the information despite appearing before the government commission many times. [...]

“Former cabinet minister and current lawmaker Vijitha Herath also echoed similar sentiments. [...] ‘After not revealing anything about it for so long, he now claims to know who carried out the attack. It is a serious matter that he is concealing this incident, which caused such a tragedy, as the Commander-in-Chief,’ he told the media on March 24.”