Gunaratne Wanninayaka has complained to the police authorities that on June 24 some officers visited his house and made inquiries about him. Later at around 2:30 pm on the same day, two officers went to the court premises where Wanninayaka usually practices and made inquiries about him and also looked for his car. These two officers approached him and asked for his business card under the pretext that they wished to consult him on a case. Wanninayaka and several of his lawyer friends monitored the movements of these two officers and discovered that there was a second group of officers with the premises and these two officers approached them to seek instructions. The lawyers also discovered that these two officers arrived in a vehicle bearing number, GI 8786. This vehicle belongs to the Narcotics Branch and the lawyers were able to ascertain that these two officers were from that Branch.
After lodging a complaint to the police, the police filed a case relating to this matter before the Magistrate’s Courts and the case is fixed for hearing tomorrow (July 4, 2013). Meanwhile the two police officers from the Narcotics Branch approached Wanninayaka seeking a settlement on the pretext that, in fact, the officers were looking for someone else and they approached him on mistaken identity.
The lawyers do not believe that this explanation is plausible as Wanninayaka is a well known lawyer in Sri Lanka. They are of the view that these officers were looking for Wanninayaka and his vehicle as a part of some secret operation and possibly with the view to plant some evidence so that they could implicate him or his driver. They lawyers inquired as to the identity of the actual person the officers were looking for if indeed they were but the officers failed to answer this question.
Earlier when the impeachment proceedings were taking place against the Chief Justice, Shirani Bandaranayke there was an attempt on the life of Wanninayaka. Some officers visited his home and tried to abduct him which was prevented due to the intervention of some neighbours. Despite of a complaint made to the police authorities by him and the Magistrate’s Courts Lawyer’s Association no credible inquiry has been held and no one has been arrested or prosecuted for the attempted abduction. Kindly see our earlier statement here.
Further, the Asian Human Rights Commission has repeatedly warned that there is a sophisticated intelligence operation being carried out against anyone who is perceived as a threat to the government. Wanninayaka is an active member of the opposition United National Party and also a very active member of the lawyer’s network which is fighting for the independence of the judiciary and lawyers. Clandestine attempts to implicate such persons are part of a scheme to blackmail and also to fabricate charges against them.
*A Statement from the Asian Human Rights Commission