January 28, 2020
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    Easter attack FR cases fixed for July 25

    July 13, 2019

    Twelve Fundamental Rights petitions filed in relation to the Easter Sunday terror attacks were yesterday taken up before a fuller bench comprising seven judges of the Supreme Court and the petitions were fixed for support on July 25. A seven-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya directed the respondent parties, including the Attorney General, to file their limited objections regarding the petitions on or before July 18. The petitioners were also directed to file their counter objections on July 23.
    Attorney General Dappula de Livera yesterday appeared in person before the Supreme Court to represent the interests of the DIG B. Dissanayake and the Attorney General. Attorney General de Livera told Court that he would not appear on behalf of the first and second respondents, namely the Inspector General of Police and former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando, respectively.

    Meanwhile, Senior Counsel Viran Corea appearing for the first respondent (the IGP) informed Court that his client has already filed limited objections against these petitions and copies of the limited objections have been handed over to the Attorney General and other parties. President’s Counsel Anuja Premaratne appearing for former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando stated that his client has also filed limited objections against the petitions.
    The seven-judge-bench comprised Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya and Justices, Buwaneka Aluwihare, Sisira de Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardena, Prasanna Jayawardena, L.T.B. Dehideniya and, Murdu Fernando. The Chief Justice has nominated this fuller bench comprising seven judges of the Supreme Court in order to hear several Fundamental Rights petitions filed concerning the Easter Sunday attack. This was in response to the motions filed by the Attorney General, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) and several other parties seeking a fuller bench in respect of these FR petitions since these applications are of public importance.
    Through these petitions, petitioners are pleading an order to prosecute those directly or indirectly responsible for the Easter terror attacks. They are also claiming compensation for the victims of these attacks. The twelve Fundamental Rights petitions, including a petition filed by a father of two deceased children who died during Easter Sunday attack, are to be taken up for hearing on the next date.
    In his petition, petitioner Saman Nandana Sirimanne, the father of late Medha Sathsarani Sirimanne, 21, and late Imesh Thiwanka Sirimanne, 19, who died in the explosion that took place on April 21st, 2019, at the Shrine of St. Anthony Church, Kochchikade, Colombo, filed this FR petition seeking an order to investigate and prosecute the Inspector General of Police and former Defence Secretary under the Penal Code.
    The Petitioner states that the late Medha Sathsarani Sirimanne, 21, was an under-graduate of the external degree programme of the Kelaniya University. The petitioner stated that his late son Imesh Thivanka Sirimanne aged 19 was to shortly sit for the GCE (A/L) examination in 2019.The Petitioner stated that the late Thathsarani and late Umesh had gone to the Shrine of St. Anthony Church, Kochchikade, in order to pray for their upcoming exams and to obtain blessings. Though they were both Buddhists, the Shrine of St. Anthony’s, Kochchikade, was their preferred place for prayers, being a place that was frequented by not only the Catholics but by people of all religions.

    The Petitioner stated that his two children died due to the bomb blast that took place at the Shrine of St. Anthony’s, Kochchikade, leaving the Petitioner to face the sudden and unexpected loss of both his children in the prime of their youth.The Petitioner stated that he, as well as every citizen of this country, was entitled to the right of equality before the law and equal protection of the law as provided as a Fundamental Right by Article 12 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic.
    The Petitioner seeks to challenge, inter alia, the persistent failure on the part of the Inspector General of Police and the former Defence Secretary to investigate and failure to take appropriate steps to safeguard public security. The Petitioner stated that at least 359 people were killed including at least 37 foreign nationals and three police officers and at least 500 were injured during the series of coordinated terrorist suicide bombings at three Christian Churches and three luxury hotels.
    The Petitioner alleged that the respondents had received an intelligence memo warning about possible suicide bomb attacks on churches and, other financial and economically vital places, being planned by Mohammed Zahran, the leader of an extremist National Islamist group called Thawheed Jama’ath.
    resident’s Counsel Faaiz Mustafa, Manohara de Silva PC, Saliya Peiris PC, Senior Counsel Gamini Perera, and Chrishmal Warnasuriya appeared for the petitioners. Attorney General Dappula de Livera PC, Additional Solicitor General Indika Demuni de Silva, ASG Farzana Jameel PC, Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle, Senior State Counsel Avanthi Perera, State Counsel Induni Punchihewa and State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne appeared for the Attorney General.Senior Counsel Viran Corea appeared for the IGP. President’s Counsel Anuja Premaratne appeared for former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando.

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