More arrests imminent in Navy youth abductions case

Evidence developed following the arrest of Navy Commodore D.K.P.Dassanayake has lead investigators to identify at least three more navy personnel suspected of involvement in the abduction and disappearance of 11 youths between 2008–2009, informed Police sources said.

Dassanayake and five seamen were arrested in July and produced before Colombo Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne on July 10 in connection with the abduction and later disappearance of the eleven youths.

The arrests followed a lengthy investigation in which CID detectives interviewed the families of the victims and over two dozen naval officers, and examined the navy facility in Trincomalee where the abducted youth are said to have been held.

Navy personnel who had feared cooperating with the investigators due to a belief that Dassanayake was too politically powerful within the higher echelons of the navy and in media circles came forward shortly after the arrests to provide the CID with valuable leads that are now being further developed by an elite investigative unit within the CID.

The new evidence is expected to allow the CID to demonstrate the nexus between the officers who ordered the abductions, others who carried out the orders and the individuals suspected of having made the ransom payments. While the report from the special team is pending, the main CID team are reportedly focusing their efforts on locating the bodies of the eleven victims.

Meanwhile, Attorney Asith Siriwardena appearing for the suspects on Wednesday informed court that he had personally been informed by law officers of the Attorney General’s Department that the CID had not presented any B Reports to the Attorney General’s department prior to making these arrests. The surprising submission prompted Magistrate Jayaratne to ask Siriwardena whether he was saying this with authority, and the defence lawyer responded in the affirmative.

The attorney appearing for the families of the victims then interrupted the exchange to state that the Attorney General’s Department is supposed to be representing the police and not the suspects, adding that if the state law officers believed that the CID had not followed due process, they would inform court themselves and not pass a message to court through the lawyer appearing for the suspects.