Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - FRONT PAGE - BY KELUM BANDARA

The Sri Lanka Po­du­jana Per­a­muna (SLPP) said yes­ter­day In­dus­try and Com­merce Min­is­ter Rishad Bathi­udeen com­mit­ted an of­fence pun­ish­able un­der the Pe­nal Code when he in­flu­enced Army Commander Lt. Gen. Ma­hesh Se­nanayake to re­lease the sus­pects ar­rested in con­nec­tion with the ter­ror strikes on April 21.

Ad­dress­ing a press con­fer­ence, SLPP Chair­man Pro­fes­sor G.L. Peiris said the Army Commander had been con­tacted by the min­is­ter thrice and if it were proven to be an of­fence, then he was pun­ish­able un­der the Pe­nal Code as it amounted to po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence.

While ques­tion­ing as to why the govern­ment did not try 89 sus­pects im­pris­oned un­der the Preven­tion of Ter­ror­ism Act, Prof. Peiris said the govern­ment did not al­low the Army to in­ter­ro­gate the sus­pects ar­rested.

“Be­sides, the re­port of the com­mit­tee ap­pointed to look into this at­tack has not been sub­mit­ted yet. The govern­ment took as long as three weeks to ban the or­gan­i­sa­tions re­spon­si­ble for the Easter Sun­day car­nage. Al­though the govern­ment re­quested the diplo­matic com­mu­nity to re­lax their travel ad­vi­sories, for­eign coun­tries wit­ness for them­selves how in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the in­ci­dents have been politi­cised,” he said.

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