CID Observes that the Lives of 11 Tamil youths Abducted and Confined by Navy Personnel for Ransom Could Have Been Saved if Former Navy Chief Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda Who Had Prior Knowledge of these Happenings Had Acted in a Timely Manner Instead of Abetting or Concealing Information.

CID Observes that the Lives of youths Abducted and Confined by Navy Personnel for Ransom Could Have Been Saved if Former Navy Chief Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda Who Had Prior Knowledge of these Happenings Had Acted in a Timely Manner Instead of Abetting or Concealing Information.

imagesSri Lanka’s effort to find a closure to the victims of the protracted terrorist war is obstructed by two ideological extremes, each feeding into the agenda of the other. On one extreme end of the scale, Sinhala ultra-nationalists and electoral calculations of Southern politics have opposed almost all on-going and past initiatives to prosecute military officials implicated in even the most blatant human rights violations. Similarly, self-serving machinations are pushing back against a Cabinet memorandum to appoint a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the release of military occupied land to their owners and to a new constitution .

On the other extreme, the LTTE rump, their affiliated groups and paid coolies are hell-bent on discrediting the Sri Lankan state for defeating an egregious terrorist group that they bankrolled for nearly two decades. The annihilation of the LTTE was a fait acompli and is beyond the reversal within the available means of the Tamil separatist campaign. (Unless of course, yet another government in Colombo hides its head in the sand to be rudely woken up by another bus bomb as it happened for three times in the short independent history both in the South and the North). The demand for an international investigation is therefore the consolation prize for losing the Eelam war.

If Sri Lanka is to move forward, the government should address reasonable grievances of war victims, and prosecute the perpetrators of at least some of the well documented violations of human rights. It should do so on its own accord, dictated by its own calculations of national interest- and not necessarily because its European friends want it to do so. Or because the government wants to appease the Tiger loving Tamil diaspora and their local partners.

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Several Senior Naval Officers Hand-picked by Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda Questioned by CID Have Indicated that the Former Navy Commander was Consciously Complicit in Allowing 11 Abducted Youths to be Killed.

Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda inched closer to arrest last Thursday, with the Supreme Court delaying the consideration of a petition filed by the former Navy Commander seeking to prevent his arrest by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in connection with the murder of 11 young men alleged to have been abducted for ransom by the Navy in late 2008.

Just one day after he failed to present himself at the CID having been summoned to appear on Thursday February 21, Karannagoda, on Friday February 22, filed a Fundamental Rights Petition before the Supreme Court alleging that he was at risk of an imminent arrest by the CID. The petition was filed on the same day the CID investigating officer, Inspector Nishantha Silva filed a report in the Colombo Fort Magistrates Court naming the former navy commander as a suspect, on charges including conspiracy to commit murder, aiding and abetting murder, concealing information about a crime and making false statements to the police about a crime.

The CID has not presented material in any court that implicates Karannagoda in the suspected 2008 abductions of any of the 11 murder victims or in the extortion of money from their families. The evidence presented against the former Navy Commander by the CID is centered around his alleged role in the murder of the illegally detained youth in May 2009 after he was said to have been notified that their families were aware of the location at which they were being detained.

Karannagoda, in his affidavit and petition in the Supreme Court, written representations through his lawyers to the Attorney General, and in letters to the Inspector General of Police, has denied any role or involvement in the abduction and murder of the 11 youth. Thirteen naval officers under his command have been arrested and charged by the CID in connection with abduction, confining and murdering the 11 victims and extracting extortion money from their families.

Dispelling allegations that the victims were taken into custody by the navy as a part of a covert military or intelligence operation connected to the war against the LTTE, the CID has reported to the Colombo Fort Magistrates Court that all three armed forces, the Army, Navy and Air Force, had certified that no intelligence existed to justify suspecting any of the victims of complicity in terrorist activities.

According to reports filed in the Magistrates Court, several senior naval officers hand-picked by Karannagoda who were questioned by the CID have indicated that the former Navy Commander was consciously complicit in allowing the 11 youth to be killed. They include current Navy Chief of Staff, Rear Admiral J.J. Ranasinghe, Karannagoda’s Military Secretary Rear Admiral Shemal Fernando, former Navy Commander Admiral Travis Sinnaiah and former Director Naval Intelligence Admiral Ananda Guruge.

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