- Evidence to suggest that the 11 youth had been abducted in six different occasions in 2008 and 2009
- There was no trace of their lives after May, 2009
By Shehan Chamika Silva
Senior State Counsel Janaka Bandara yesterday stated that the Attorney General has decided to file indictments against all suspects, including former Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda over the magisterial inquiry conducted into the alleged abduction and disappearances of eleven youth in 2008.
SSC Bandara also said the Indictments will be filed in Colombo High Court under section 296 (Murder), 338 (Wrongful confinement) and 358 (kidnapping or abduction) of the Penal Code.
During his submissions, SSC Bandara elaborated the manner in which these alleged abductions had been taken place. He said there are evidence to suggest that the eleven youth had been abducted in six different occasions in 2008 and 2009.
These youth initially had been kept at a place called ‘Pittubambuwa’ (Navy Head Quarters) and then were taken away to the ‘Gunsite’ Camp in Trincomalee, said the SSC. He also revealed about an incident where a mother of one of the abductees was threatened to pay a sum of Rs.500,000 as ransom to an individual in Kambalagamuwa area to release her son. This information was revealed from the phone conversations traced during the investigation, the Senior State Counsel said. SSC Bandara also informed the court that the prosecution has evidence to suggest the possible murders of those youth, as there was no trace of their lives after May, 2009. “Therefore we will initiate legal action without the dead bodies, because the investigation has enough evidence from the phone conversations to suggest that the suspects had made these youth to disappear, and probably murdered them” SSC Janaka Bandara Said. He also said that former Navy Commander Adm. Wasantha Karannagoda will also be indicted on the incident over concealing the facts of abduction, despite being well aware of what had happened in May, 2009.
Fort Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake also dealt an extraordinary legal situation during yesterday’s inquiry, as the first suspect Sampath Munasinghe was recently arrested for the second time while he was on bail. In 2010, Suspect Munasinghe was arrested and released on bail over the allegations only under the Fire Arms Act and abduction allegation under the Penal Code. After almost nine years, he was arrested recently (Feb. 25, 2019) over the allegation under 296 (Murder) of the Penal Code.
Considering Counsel Niroshana Perera’s legal questions over the previous bail relating to the suspect, the Magistrate made an order saying that the previous bail need not be dismissed or cancelled as it relates to a bailable offence. Yet the Court has no jurisdiction over granting of bail for the new arrest, as it was made under Section 296 of the Penal Code. He said section 115(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code prevents Magistrates granting bail for murder charges.
Subsequently, Sampath Munasinghe and five other suspects were also further remanded till March 19, 2019 by the Magistrate.