Forced disappearances : Courts moved against Gotabaya again

By Saman Indrajith

Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa would have to face legal action over the forced disappearance of two Frontline Socialist Party cadres, Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganandan, 12 years back, Attorney-at-Law Nuwan Bopage told The Island.Hours before embarking on a flight to Geneva to highlight human rights violations in Sri Lanka, Bopage said that Rajapaksa would have to be present in the Court of Appeal on Sept 19.

Bopage, who represents the victims’ families, said that Lalith and Kugan were FLSP members engaged in the party’s human rights circles and went missing on 09 Dec., 2011 while they were making arrangements to celebrate World Human Rights Day marked on the following day in Jaffna. When that was questioned in a Habeas Corpus case the Court was told that the then Government Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said at a Cabinet press briefing that both Lalith and Kugan were under police custody.

Bopage said, “Summoned before the courts, Rambukwella testified that he had received that information from the Defence Ministry, whose secretary at the time was Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

“Rajapaksa was summoned to testify but he did not appear, saying that he was receiving medical treatment abroad.

After Rajapaksa resigned as the President, the Court was moved again but the Attorney General Department said it was not aware of his address. We offered to provide the address to the Court but Rajapaksa returned to the country. Thereafter we submitted his present address and summons should have been issued by now to appear in Court of Appeal on Sept 19.”

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