Public Security Minister Rear Admiral (retd.) Sarath Weerasekera yesterday said that it had taken the US 20 years to commence the legal process against the mastermind of Sept 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and France seven years to prosecute the mastermind of the November 2015 Paris attacks.
“We started the prosecution of the mastermind of the Easter Sunday attacks within two and a half years. Almost all that has to be done by the police have been completed. Yet, with regard to some individuals, investigations are in progress,” the Minister said speaking to journalists after declaring open the new police station at Malabe.
Weerasekera said Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith had made several statements and expressed his dissatisfaction over the pace of the prosecution process. “We have to accept his criticism because he is the one who represents the Catholic people, who has been immensely affected by the Easter Sunday terror attacks. The process is progressing and we cannot influence the legal process. But when compared to situations with regard to similar incidents in other countries we have done much better,” the Minister said.
“As of now cases are being heard in five High Courts against 32 persons involved in the Easter Sunday attacks. Among them are 24 main suspects including Naufer Moulavi and Jafoor Mama. The case is being heard in an expeditious manner at the request of the Attorney General, the Chief Justice appointed a special Trial-at-Bar to accelerate the process. The case is to be heard continuously, starting from this month.
“I think that we must be appreciative of the services rendered by the investigators to complete such a heavy load of work within two and a half years. The CID probed around 112,000 telephone calls. They have filed 23,700 charges. In addition, there are four reports in this regard; namely the reports by the Parliamentary Select Committee, Parliament Sectoral Oversight Committee, and the Presidential Commision of Inquiry. The Attorney General has to study them all to make sure that there would not be any discrepancy in testimonies otherwise the accused would avail themselves the advantage of such differences and win the case against them. It may take some time but I assure you that those responsible would not go Scott-free.”
Among those present were IGP CD Wickramaratne and Western Province Senior DIG Deshabandu Tennakoon.