Sri Lanka Police chief faces criminal charges over Easter attacks

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Sri Lanka’s state prosecutor Dappula de Livera has ordered the trial of the country’s police chief and a top defense official for failure to prevent the Easter bombings that killed 258 people.

The state prosecutor said Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundara and Defense Secretary Hemasiri Fernando failed to act on advance warnings of the deadly April 21 attacks.

“The two officials should be brought before a magistrate for their criminal negligence to prevent the April 21 attacks.

“Their negligence amounts to what is known under international law to be grave crimes against humanity,” de Livera said in a letter to the acting police chief.

The statement said further that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute both officials for murder which carries the death penalty, and for lesser charges of negligence leading to damage of property, they could face up to 52 years in prison.

Both should be treated as “criminal suspects”, de Livera said, strongly hinting that the duo should be arrested.

He ordered acting police chief Chandana Wickramaratne to record statements from both men and produce them before a magistrate without delay.

The attorney general said a presidential commission of inquiry had found “major lapses” by Fernando, who has since resigned from his position which was directly under President Maithripala Sirisena.

Jayasundara was suspended by the president after he refused to step down over the handling of the attacks.

Another nine senior police officers have also been named by the attorney general as suspects who should be prosecuted for their role in the security lapses.

On April 21, three churches and three luxury hotels in Colombo were hit by bombers who pledged allegiance to Daesh.

 




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