- He was arrested, imprisoned and suffered because of his commitment to bring the culprits before courts
By Nirmala Kannangara
Reacting to the Court of Appeal’s order to release former CID Director SSP Shani Abeysekara and SI Sugath Mendis on bail after 11 months in custody without trial, survivors of the pre-2015 atrocities Ahimsa Wickrematunge and Sandya Ekneligoda expressed relief and renewed hope.
“For nearly a year, Sri Lanka’s finest criminal investigator has languished in prison for a crime police have been unable to prove,” Ahimsa Wickrematunge said in a statement released on Twitter, adding that the court’s decision to grant bail ‘brings relief and hope but also new fears for their safety’.
“Fearless investigations conducted by Shani Abeysekera and his CID officers are the only reason we know what happened to my father Lasantha Wickrematunge and other victims of atrocities. These officers have suffered immensely for their courage,” she claimed further.
Wickrematunge’s sentiments were echoed by Sandya Ekneligoda, wife of journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda who disappeared in 2010. “When SSP Abeysekara was arrested we were not able to fight for him and support him. I apologize to him and his family for this failure. He tried to deliver justice to us. But we were not able to reciprocate.
It was because of us - the victims of various crimes that he was imprisoned. He was an honest government official who was merely trying to do his duty. He was arrested, imprisoned and suffered because of his commitment to bring the culprits before courts,” Ekneligoda stated.