Ahimsa Wickrematunge, daughter of Slain Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge filed a memorandum in the US District Court of California objecting to Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s motion to stay the case on the basis that it would inter alia “distract him from the campaign”.
Ahimsa in her memorandum states that the “court should deny Defendant’s speculative motion to stay the case” on the basis of potential harm to Plaintiff militates against a stay, Defendant cannot meet his burden to establish a “clear case of hardship or inequity” justifying a stay and that the “orderly course of justice” weighs against a stay.
“Defendant’s contention that plaintiff “waited a decade to sue” and thus “cannot plausibly argue” that a stay would cause her harm purposefully ignores the reasons that Plaintiff did not -and could not- file a complaint sooner, including the risk of reprisal in Sri Lanka for Plaintiff, witnesses and lawyers the political influence and targeted obstructions by Defendants and his family; and the lack of equivalent causes of action under Sri Lankan law. As previously pleaded Plaintiff could not receive a “fair or even a safe trial” in Sri Lanka,” Ahimsa’s memorandum stated.
Former Defence Secretary and Sri Lanka Podujana Permuna (SLPP) Presidential hopeful pleaded before the court that the lawsuit has created a media circus is the country.
“In the intensity of an election campaign, every action by the court or the parties, in this case, will be disseminated, amplified, and potentially distorted in ways that are beyond this court’s control. This court could find itself a major factor in a foreign election, potentially even influencing its outcome.” his motion claimed.
Lawyers further stated in the motion that Rajapaksa is likely to win the election and if so he will be immune from further legal action.
His claim of winning the election was backed by an affidavit provided by a journalist and a political commentator, Malinda Seneviratne stating that “under these circumstances, based on my knowledge and experiences as a professional journalist and a political commentator in Sri Lanka, Mr Rajapaksa is currently the candidate most likely to win the presidency in the December 2019 election.
Speaking to Colombo Telegraph Seneviratne stood by his claim stating “I was asked if I can give an affidavit re article I wrote affirming points I made. I stand by what I write unless proven otherwise. So, I agreed. I would do that in any forum anywhere. I have also written about Ms Sooka and nothing very complimentary either. Furthermore, affidavit length is dependent on what the particular individual wishes to affirm.”
Rajapaksa is currently indicted for misuse of public property in the D A Rajapaksa case filed in the Special High Court at Bar, where rupees 33.9 million was misused to build a museum in his parent’s name. He has clearly tried delaying the process by filing appeals and revision applications in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court and has stalled the process over a few months.