26 November, 2020

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Amnesty International Slams Gota’s Decision To Release Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake

“Where accountability is so rare for serious human rights violations in Sri Lanka, the government’s arbitrary decision to release Sergeant Ratnayake sends an extremely worrying message. It means that military perpetrators of horrific crimes, even if convicted through a court of law, will be pardoned and released,” Amnesty International’s Regional Director for South Asia, Biraj Patnaik said today.

The pardon comes at a time when there are public calls to ease prison crowding by releasing prisoners held for, amongst others, petty crimes and those who are unable to meet bail conditions, to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

Amnesty International is also concerned by any further decisions along the same lines as pledged by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa during his election campaign. Sri Lanka is a party to the International Covenant on Civil Political Rights (ICCPR) and has an obligation to ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms have been violated have an effective remedy (Article 2).
“Using the pandemic as an opportunity to release those convicted for heinous crimes is reprehensible. Victims have a right to justice, and Sri Lanka has an obligation to ensure that justice is done. After many long years, the victims of the Mirusuvil massacre from 2000 finally got a semblance of justice in 2015. It is despicable to have that justice reversed through an arbitrary Executive decision,” said Biraj Patnaik.

Background

After more than a decade of long delays and case transfers, in June 2015, the Colombo High Court sentenced army officer Sergeant. Sunil Rathnayaka to death for the murder of eight Tamil Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in December 2000 after a 13-year trial. The victims included four children, amongst who was a five- year-old whose body showed signs of torture. Sergeant Rathnayake, along with four other officers were indicted based on multiple charges, including unlawful assembly with common intention to cause injury and murder. Although Sergeant. Rathnayake was found guilty on 17 counts, the others were cleared of all charges for insufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Sergeant Rathnayaka appealed the conviction, and a five-judge-bench of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka unanimously affirmed the conviction in May 2019.

In October 2019, then Presidential hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa pledged that once in power, he would acquit and release ‘war heroes’ being held on ‘baseless’ charges.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected President and took office in November 2019.

Related news

Army Butcher Sunil Ratnayake Released Amidst Coronavirus Outbreak

 

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Latest comments

  • 6
    26

    Not too good response from International Community in the present situation

    • 7
      0

      Not a sound from Newsfirst.lk about the misuse of the Presidential Pardon!!! So Maharajah fully supporting the Rajapaksas this time and downplaying this disputable act during a pandemic…

      Newsfirst playing political games too after all they downplayed CoupeLk too. Then they pretend to be looking out for the citizenry.

    • 2
      0

      A Murderer is always a murderer whether he is a Tamil or Sinhalese or a Muslim. Killing an entire family and found guilty and sentenced to death by the supreme court of Sri Lanka and released, now this person will be used to kill others. We have to wait and see. As a Sinhalese I feel shame.

  • 40
    9

    With this single act, President Gota has told the world that Srilanka is a Failed State; But the World of-course is preoccupied with the Corona Virus, so in all probability this will only be read and forgotten.
    Will the upholders of Buddhism, the Maha-Sangha care to take up issue?
    Probably not, because in this country we have a unique version of Buddhism known as Sinhala Buddhism!

    • 3
      29

      With this single act President Gota has proved the world that he is not ready to dance to the western beat, which is why we all love him. Just to make westerners happy we don’t have to bend over back, and we had enough with leaders like that. Of course, not all Sri Lankans think like us. ;), if you know what I mean.

      • 25
        3

        Idiot, don’t you know he is still a Yankee. Why did he choose to leave the army to become a refugee in America during the war? Why didn’t he go to China, Japan, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia………….Sorry Lanka has no future as long as idiots like you are bending their backs to the ‘Jarapaksas’. He is now a fugitive with no place to run but his resting place.

        • 0
          0

          These Sinhalese Modayas will tern Sri lanka into a Malay\Chinese\Tamil country. Tamil Tigers do not need to fight anymore because they got they Malay brother in law is the president of Sri lanka

      • 13
        2

        That “Western” charity is good enough for us, and has been for decades. They are supposed to cough up the aid, but cannot criticize our governments. That is Sri Lankan arrogance.

        • 1
          2

          Navin,

          Sri Lanka is like an arrogant beggar.

          In SL, when beggars raise their arms for handout, and if we give them 10 rupees when they were expecting 1000, they say, Palayan Mahattaya Yanna.

          SL is the same, they don’t have enough crap in their bellies for a proper shit but they want to teach a lesson to the West whenever possible.

          The West couldn’t give flying eff about this irrelevant country whose GDP is smaller than some of their smallest companies.

      • 14
        3

        Wait and see the consequences coming soon. First tell him to pay loans to the world bodies.

        • 3
          3

          Dogs barking at the moon?
          Waiting for the consequences since 2009!

      • 8
        3

        Pigmallion – The pigshit eater (his own words) is an American citizen and is not qualified to rule!

      • 6
        0

        IF YOU CAN BEND YOUR BACK TO BEG FOR LOANS FROM WESTERN COUNTRIES YOU ARE OBLIGED TO LISTEN TO THEM RE-HUMAN RIGHTS AND LAW AND JUSTICE

      • 8
        2

        Pygmalion_reply, nothing to be proud of when your country protects murders. This is not a case of standing up to the west this is turning into a criminal failed state. This is destroying Sri Lanka not rebuilding it… and fools like you celebrate as the country is destroyed by these criminals…

      • 6
        0

        Pygmalion_reply
        This is not a question of East Vs West this is a case of miscarriage of Justice you moron!!!!

      • 1
        0

        Westerners and tigers are happy that Sinhala Modayas buys these stories and turn Sri lanka into Chines-Malaya country, Westerns nor Tigers are dumb as Sinhalese Modayas. they do know the covert operation how to promote Malay Family and keep them in power

    • 12
      2

      The world did try to get some accountability, but in true Rajapaksa style, they made their supporters feel it was a plot to bring the Rajapaksa’s down, and that those who keep giving us aid, is “interfering” in our affairs. Looks like they are okay with an American being our president.

    • 3
      4

      So what?
      If you opt terrorism against a legitimate gov. these are the consequences.
      Its too late now….move on!!

      • 2
        0

        Eusense nonsense. It is always ‘heads I win tails you lose’ for you!

  • 16
    17

    Everyone from the ‘majority’ is happy over this news because Tamils were killed…

    • 5
      1

      Bingo, get ready to pay the repayment very near future.

  • 24
    4

    Where is Rajapakse Slave Abeytissa Thero on this?

  • 14
    41

    We trust in Gotabaya, He does the right thing.

    • 8
      4

      Yes we did until this unwarranted and unwanted action at a time like this had to take place. I am saddened and feel sorry for SL.

    • 5
      3

      Yes sure, one day he should have to go for self isolation.

      • 11
        3

        Sorry buddy he will have to go for self immolation for the crimes he has commited

    • 4
      5

      Abhaya Premawardena
      You must be blind with a low IQ. He is a war hero but, if had happened to someone in your family will you say the same?

      • 2
        5

        look, idiot . What happened to the LTTE that surrendered and had committed many crimes. They were rehabilitated. and let loose. They are running free.

        I am not sure this guy did anything. but I dont trust Tamils to tell the truth

    • 3
      0

      Abhaya Vairawardena,
      I also had some hope in Gorabhaya but now I have lost all trust in him as a resposible leader.

    • 3
      0

      Slaves of your nature, Abhaya BP, would trust Rajakshes BPs always. So, that is why the bps regardless of their high criminal energies be brought back.
      :
      May corona be infected to Rajakashes and their kith and kin.. so that we can have a nation free from Extremism seeds.

  • 8
    17

    Amidst the Coronavirus this pardoning did take place. There are so many issues on this that needs my response. I will take this one only for the time being. What does the Amnesty International want? It is forever bugging the Sri Lankan government if and when there are moves afoot to execute the condemned. But in this instance they want the right opposite. Supposing this fellow was hanged, yet would not the Amnesty International condemn the execution and slam the government for retentionist policies? Therefore Amnesty can only be seen as a busybody trying to tell the world how they should act and how they shouldn’t thus undermining the very issue involving accountability.

    • 12
      4

      You idiot Good Sense, change your name to Bad Sends. The President could have commuted the sentence to life imprisonment instead. No body would have found fault with him including the AI. He released him to tell the Sinhalese people that he would do anything for them and them only and giving open license for the armed forces to kill any Tamil citizen when ever they feel like doing so and they will not be even charged before a court of law. No wander Sri Lanka is named a paraya state and the country has already gone to dogs. In no time, Sri Lanka will be under military rule with this despot Gota as its head.

      • 0
        6

        Please mind your language. The butcher would have been first commuted to life imprisonment first before being released. I challenge you to cite a single case where a person under death sentence was released at once. Please don’t descend to a level of cheap racist to create communal division. Sri Lanka is not yet under military rule. It is you fellows who will make it and make even me impossible to live in. I maintain that AI is an institution, though involved in Amnesty but will “cough” a mass of words for fees paid as there are so many cases like this all over the world and AI said NOTHING. As I wrote before I am only highlighting the involvement AI only in this matter for the time being as the subject is AI.

    • 2
      0

      Good sense, looks like you have lost your sense after all! There is no need to hang those sentenced to death, instead their sentence could be commuted to life or multiple life imprisonment without parole, especially for a severe brutal despicable crime of this sort in respect of which the appeal was rejected by the judges unanimously!

      • 0
        0

        I have not lost my sense at all. Let us not be emotional. The subject here is not the hanging of the convict but the busybody input of AI. There involvement here puts off the real issues behind this as there credibility is questionable.

  • 5
    15

    AI was mum when Trump released a few convicted military murderers a few months ago.
    AI is mum with the apartheid of the Arabs in Israel.
    AI is mum on the crimes committed by Saudi Arabia in Yemen.
    AI sure knows who not to mess with.

    AI needs to just go away.

    • 15
      3

      Are you saying that this justifies releasing war criminals that killed innocent men, women and children?
      My advise to you is keep away from posting, your upbringing is showing.

    • 6
      3

      None of those rich nations get charity from international agencies, so I guess we have to answer to their requests for accountability, or else stop begging for aid, like we have been doing for decades. We have to pay the piper after all.

    • 6
      5

      Rajiv Tennekoon
      _
      “AI is mum with the apartheid of the Arabs in Israel.”

      Amnesty International UK / Get involved
      Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories
      https://www.amnesty.org.uk/issues/israel-and-occupied-palestinian-territories?gclid=Cj0KCQjwyPbzBRDsARIsAFh15JaPBrYTlun4cYlEsmpCFrLXl4wf6NNW047bnQmpuPqkQ07W3SoCtIoaApn_EALw_wcB

      Its time you pulled your head from wherever it is now.
      Champass would not mind.

    • 2
      1

      Sinhalese racist with a pure Tamil name Tennekoon ( Thenar Koon) meaning the king of the south. This proves your family has its origin from Tamil Nadu or Kerala. Now beating the anti Tamil drum

  • 4
    19

    Amnesty International is an LTTE (Terrorist) funded, anti Sri Lankan, organisation. Act-Of-War charges should be brought against them. ‘Eye witness’ accounts from LTTE Tamils cannot be trusted.

    The president is NOT saying he is innocent, the President is saying that he is pardoned for something done during a bloody war when organisations such as the UN, AI, Red Cross were partying with the LTTE and (still) trying to DESTROY SRI LANKA.

    • 13
      2

      Tony D,
      You are a great Buddhist Sinhala Srilankan patriot living on LTTE fund. You all including Rajapaksa family living on the robbed money from LTTE, Tamils and Muslims. You may tell that even US and many other countries are living on LTTE fund. Don’t you know that Gota came to Srilanka on LTTE sponsor.

      • 0
        0

        Very true, every dealings still operating under Gotta’s close associates cum friends KP and Emil kanthan.

    • 5
      1

      Tony D

      Amnesty International,
      United Nations,
      UNHRC,
      ICC,
      UNICEF,
      Asian Development Bank,
      World Bank,
      International Monetary Fund,
      Red Cross,
      Food and Agriculture Organization,
      The European Central Bank,
      International Civil Aviation Organization,
      International Fund for Agricultural Development,
      International Labour Organization,
      International Maritime Organization
      International Telecommunications Union
      World Health Organization
      World Tourism Organization
      ….
      RAW
      Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation
      MI5
      MI6
      CIA,



      are all LTTE funded institutions run by Ernst Stavro Blofeld, assisted by Oddjob, Lex Luthor, Valentine, ……………… supported by R Premadasa, M & G Rajapaksa’s, …………

  • 13
    2

    I hope this ass hole gets out and start raping and murdering the Sinhala Buddhist as he is not in a Tamil area.
    Serial rapists and murderers don’t give up, they will do what they do if opportunity presents itself.

    • 2
      6

      That is a pervert wish

    • 1
      0

      Burt

      “Serial rapists and murderers don’t give up, they will do what they do if opportunity presents itself.”

      Psychopaths such as Gota, Kamal, Shavendra, Chagi, …. don’t wait until opportunity to present itself, they are the kind of proactive mass murderers.

      Lets wait and see how dumbasses, Eagle Blind Eye, Rajiv Tennekoon, Retarded Shameless, Nuisance, Tony D, Abhaya Premawardena, ………………… would react when single handed Generals Shavendra (armed a red hot iron rod) and Jegath (with pickaxe), …. Sisira come after them?

      Being a pervert Eagle Blind Eye would probably demand more from single handed Generals Shavendra.

      • 0
        0

        How fast was this story buried? I think a bottle of whiskey brought over the father!

        “Minister Keheliya Rambukwella’s daughter who is working at the office of Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Chandula, has been abused by the Deputy Permanent Representative, Major General Shavendra Silva, an official from the office told Lanka News Web.
        The Minister’s daughter has complained to senior embassy officials that Silva had forcibly dragged her into his office and tried to sexually abuse her and that she had managed to escape after giving a good fight.”

        • 2
          0

          Burt

          This incident does not matter to Keheliya Rambukwella.
          The entire Sinhala/Buddhist community believe Rana-Viruses could do no wrong. Even if they raped the minister no one should be charged at the courts because they are Rana-Viruses. The entire country knew the idea and practice of impunity was and how deeply entrenched among the Sinhala/Buddhist Fascists, Hopper Sirisena went on to institutionalise the entire concept when Gota was charged for fraud.

          It appears Keheliya Rambukwella wouldn’t mind suffering for the sake of Rana-Viruses, Gota and his Job, even if the war criminals attempt or actually rape his immediate kith and kin.

  • 9
    0

    By this , the message to amnesty and all other world bodies are following, 1) We never take minorities lives into account , this is how we treated them before and will continue in future , we are not going to change our ways 2) This is what we call as Lankan “Loo and Odor” 3) Just one individual/family will decides the fate of country and its citizens. 4) We not only pulled out of all the promises we gave you , but will continue to do what ever we did in past 5) We do not need any of you but please continue to help us with donations. 6)killing minorities according to Silly Lanka Loo and Odor is not considered as a crime 6) But please continue to address as DRSSL and not Democrazy antisocialist SB Silly Lanka. 7)How do you thing all those alleged people disappeared ????? 8) Next time we meet we will give you new promises. 9)Majority people are with us and support these measures, it is a sovereign issue

  • 8
    2

    we all new he was not smart, now its proven the racist Buddhist chose a jack ass for a leader. corona kisser as health minister, I doubt figures are correct. west might cut funding, china the virus will be the provider of loans. but china will be sued for trillions by America,all there investments confisticated outside ,be it us treasury bills and assets. china will become a basket case. Russia is already, as they cannot produce oil below usd 30, only Saudi cost is usd 3, so Russia is screwed.
    we have backed the wrong horse, as usual. gots and family will get corona and die karma is real.
    organ harvesting china will be in pieces when the corona and cousins finish the ccp. evil entity.
    we need a leader not a jack ass. after this is over sanctions by west, then the elite Buddhist can send their off spring to Wuhan to study.

  • 8
    2

    If Sira and Gota can grant presidential pardons to Sinhalese convicts, why cannot they grant presidential pardons to Tamil suspects held under the PTA? This is one country in the world where suspects are treated much more harshly than convicts. To put it bluntly, it is all simply a matter of Racism, nothing more, nothing less!
    A Racist can Never be the President of All Sri Lankans as this involves a two-way interaction!

  • 7
    1

    Executive power stinks. Nothing is patriotic, but stink. The stink of Buddhism and being a Sinhalese. There is no smell of justice. The kaduwa will return it’s swipe.

  • 6
    1

    Sorry buddy he will have to go for self immolation for the crimes he has commited

  • 8
    2

    A Buddhist President don’t mind helping murderers as long as you kill Muslims and Tamils, but DON’T KILL COWS AND MOQUITOES!

  • 3
    0

    This action shows that GR is not a hero but a zero.

  • 2
    0

    Goraka not even stray ,rabid, wild street dogs which have mauled many young children and elderly, because they resemble us, Lankans in their behavior.

  • 2
    6

    President should put TNA politicians who promoted separatism and supported LTTE terrorists to create a separate State behind bars. They violated the Constitution.

  • 1
    4

    “US Threatens Families Of Int’l Criminal Court Staff If They Try Americans For War Crimes” The USA is a good example of a county that protects its soldiers from wartime crimes.
    Sri lanka I am proud that you pardoned the wartime soldier!

  • 0
    4

    Amnesty International are helplessly watching in fear………… while their backers the ….
    CONQUERORS OF THE WORLD ARE BEING CONQUERED BY COVID – 19.

    AI’s Willian Nee….. where are you? COVID unfinished business…. AI / HRW /AHRC / GTF / TGTE all in its path…………..Also Garaeth Evans Right to Protect.

  • 0
    4

    What is the evidence against this man? How was he convicted?

    According to Prof. Hoole eye witnesses in Sri Lanka will say anything driven by communal passion. Therefore apart from eye witness testimonies I’m curious whether there is any other evidence that proves without a doubt he actually committed this multiple murder.

  • 5
    1

    Ssgt Rathnayake may not have been the only culprit here but he was properly charged, and convicted, and his appeal was rejected. I am against the death penalty, but he should serve life imprisonment for his illegal actions.

    This case has many similarities with another case of homicide about that time. I am referring to the BINDUNUWEWA MASSACRE that took place in the same year – 24th October 2000. TWENTY SIX young Tamil men who were in confinement were massacred that night. The camp had an army and police guard. They abandoned their duties, and some joined the mob of tens/hundreds who attacked the camp and massacred 26 of the inmates. The police and army who had a sacred duty of care to protect the young men who were in their charge. They failed, and no one was charged for dereliction of duty. The trial that took place was a sham. Justice was not served. Today, some of the culprits strut about Bandarawela and Diyatalawa; and the people of the area know who they are.

    I am not a Tamil and the temptation is to stand back and say ‘nothing to do with me’. WRONG! I saw denial in the 50’s and 60’s and not enough stood up to be counted. See where it has got us to.

    Presidential pardons must be exercised with great care and not to make political points. Otherwise, it becomes a farce. JR pardoned a convicted murderer, then appointed the disgraceful man a JP. Sirisena pardoned a man who treated the law courts with impunity, then invited the man and his mother to take tea with him. What ‘delightful’ post-release event awaits the awful Rathnayake?

    We must continue to confront injustice and crimes against humanity. And never stop.

    • 4
      0

      Spring Koha
      We ended up with Gota because of the incompetance of Ranil/Sira bogus Yahapalanaya (good governance) all the bloody politicians should be hanged at Galleface.

  • 2
    2

    If Amnesty get involved its guaranteed to fail!

  • 3
    1

    Keep Calm People, Justice will prevail. Once you are a murderer you are always a murderer whether the law says you are one or not whether it is Sunil Ratnayake or Gotabaya. They have blood on their hands and lots of it and nobody can wipe it off. You can escape a prison but you cannot escape your conscience. It will come to haunt them and their families and there is no escape from it. They can enjoy the privileges of gov today but all of this has a time frame and it is not eternal.Their hateful and murderous actions will come to haunt them and torture them even after this earthly life.
    Why are we all surprised by Gota’s pardon of Sunil Ratnayake? Don’t they say “birds of a feather flock together”.
    Why are we surprised by the timing of the release? Gota is a known coward he had to hide behind a global pandemic to do this horrendous release. He left the army and ran away from the war to America but came back to direct a war by hiding behind his brother’s shawl in an A/C room. War hero my foot???? The real heroes are the ones who fought the terrorists on the ground. Shame on you Gota. You are a bloody shame.

  • 1
    0

    What’s the whole requirement for this ?. With all the public attention now focused to COVID-19, the president Gotabhaya Rajapakshe (may be with the advice/recommendation/persuasion from some others too) had released him overturning the verdict given by court after years of trial…. I’m not sure whether he DID the crime, because I could not witness it, nor had been part of the subsequent court proceedings on the matter. But, I believe, the court had conducted a fair trial on this, and had presented its verdict on the matter. This is no better than the previous president’s decision to release that gruesome royal-park murderer during his last week in office. Had this come as part of a presidential pardon after having analyzed the entire list on the death row or the life-long imprisonment, this could have been at least a bit more,*mind you at least a bit more*, justifiable, but this seems to be a case of nothing but arbitrary choice and discrimination, hence questioning even the principles of equality & justice. With all due respect, this guy still deserved at least, *mind you at least*, another couple of decades in prison. Even the persons found in the possession of only a few milligrams of drugs would be handed over the imprisonment for life, so how anyone can justify a disgruntled monster like this. Being a solder, or whoever for that matter irrespective of the hierarchy he/she sits in, should NOT qualify one for this kind of a gruesome act. This is a very irresponsible and lunatic act on the part of president whom’d definitely happen to lose respect if he’s to take the decisions in this manner, nothing but misuse of power to say the least. Allowing this guy to escape in this way sets forth a clearly bad example for others to follow, that is the sinister reality here.

  • 1
    1

    Wasn’t it the Tamil diaspora who said repeatedly that you cannot have a fair trial in Sri Lanka? So why are they complaining now?

  • 1
    0

    Adrian Teen Aged 13 3/4

    “Wasn’t it the Tamil diaspora who said repeatedly that you cannot have a fair trial in Sri Lanka? So why are they complaining now?”

    Probably your Tamil (diaspora) brethren are highly disturbed that Sinhalese and Buddhists are next in the firing line.

    Let’s wait and see how the country is going to be restructured into a fully fledged Sinhala/Buddhist Fascist state.

    ……..
    …..
    Then they came for me and there was no one left
    to speak out for me.
    —-Martin Niemöller

  • 1
    0

    Burt

    “Serial rapists and murderers don’t give up, they will do what they do if opportunity presents itself.”

    Psychopaths such as Gota, Kamal, Shavendra, Chagi, …. don’t wait until opportunity to present itself, they are the kind of proactive mass murderers.

    Lets wait and see how dumbasses, Eagle Blind Eye, Rajiv Tennekoon, Retarded Shameless, Nuisance, Tony D, Abhaya Premawardena, ………………… would react when single handed Generals Shavendra (armed a red hot iron rod) and Jegath (with pickaxe), …. Sisira come after them?

    Being a pervert Eagle Blind Eye would probably demand more from single handed Generals Shavendra.

    • 0
      0

      ‘Minister Keheliya Rambukwella’s daughter who is working at the office of Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Chandula, has been abused by the Deputy Permanent Representative, Major General Shavendra Silva, an official from the office told Lanka News Web.
      The Minister’s daughter has complained to senior embassy officials that Silva had forcibly dragged her into his office and tried to sexually abuse her and that she had managed to escape after giving a good fight.”

      Has that drunkard Ranbukwella ever spoken about this?

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