The Attorney General today gave an undertaking to the Supreme Court that Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando will not be arrested at this moment regarding a complaint made by Major General Suresh Salley.
Additional Solicitor General Rohantha Abeysuriya appearing for the Attorney General made these remarks when the Fundamental Rights petition filed by Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando was called before Supreme Court.
Abeysuriya told court that the CID Director in a letter to the Attorney General had informed that they have no intention to arrest the petitioner since CID will act in accordance with the Attorney General's advice and the abstracts of the investigations to be submitted to the Attorney General soon after the conclusion of the investigations.
Abeysuriya submitted to Supreme Court that there is no possibility of arresting the petitioner at this moment and further said the Attorney General would take an appropriate decision after the conclusion of the CID inquiry.
Meanwhile, President's Counsel Rienzie Arsekularatne appearing for the petitioner informed Supreme Court that his client is ready to give a statement and assist CID investigations.
Supreme Court three-judge-bench comprising Justice Vijith Malalgoda, Justice L.T.B. Dehideniya and Justice Preethi Padman Surasena fixed the petition to be called again on April 4 next year.
Filing a Fundamental Rights petition though his lawyers, Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando is seeking an order preventing CID from arresting him regarding a complaint made by Major General Suresh Salley.
The petitioner states that there is great likelihood of he being arrested when he appears before the CID.
The petitioner has named Chief Inspector Lalitha Dissanayake, ASP Rohan Premaratne, DIG W. Thilakartne, IGP Chandana Wickramaratne, Director of State Intelligence Service Major General Suresh Salley, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith and Attorney General as respondents.
The petitioner is also seeking a declare there is an imminent infringement of the fundamental rights guaranteed to him under Articles 12 (1), 13 (1) and 14(1) (a) of the Constitution.
Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando states after the bomb explosions at St. Anthony’s Church, Kochchikade, St.Sebastian’s Church, Katuwapitya, Shangri-La Hotel Colombo, Kingsbury HotelColombo, Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo and the Zion Church in Batticoloa on 21.04.2019 (Easter Sunday) which claimed the lives of 269 persons both local and foreign, including several children and caused injuries to 596 persons, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, the 6th Respondent, along with several other Catholic Priests, including the Petitioner took a keen interest to ascertain those responsible for the said bomb explosions and bring justice to the victims.
The Petitioner states owing to the keen interest that he took in the above effort to bring justice to the victims and the kith and kin of the victims of the bomb blast, he eventually became the spokesperson of the Catholic Church with regard to the aforesaid bomb blast.
The Petitioner states during a webinar (via Zoom technology) organized by “Global Forum for Justice for Victims of Easter Sunday” on 23.10.202, he questioned the failure on the part of the Police and the Intelligence Service that operated in Kattankudy to bringthe members of the extremist group called Thoweed Jamath operating in that area who were, preaching extremism, committing atrocities against the Sufi Muslims and committing crime. The petitioner saif he did not refer in particular to the then Brigadier Suresh Salley who was attached to the Directorate of Military Intelligence.
The Petitioner states that sequel to the said webinar, the Petitioner on 27.10.2021 received a notice issued by the CID, informing he has defamed the Suresh Salley during the said webinar and requiring the Petitioner to present himself before the CID on 28.10.2021 at 10 am for the purpose of questioning him.
The Petitioner states he thereafter learned from various news broadcasts on 27.10.2021 that the CID has already reported facts to the Colombo Chief Magistrate's Court.
The petitioner said Major General Suresh Salley has made a written complaint on 25th of October 2021 alleging, his statement caused prejudice to the National Security, caused a prejudice to Suresh Salley, committed offences under Sections 120, 128, 484 and 485 of the Penal Code
and Section 3(1) and 3(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act No.56 of 2007 and advocated national, racial and religious hatre
d that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence.
President's Counsel Rienzie Arsekularatne with Attorneys-At-Law, Namal Karunaratne and Udara Muhandiramge of Premier Legal Consultants appeared for the petitioner. (Lakmal Sooriyagoda)