Unable to touch Opposition MP Harin Fernando while he remains under the care of his doctors at Nawaloka Hospital, President Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa has set the CID on his family.
The same day, Fernando filed a fundamental rights petition in the Supreme Court against imminent arrest.
In his petition before the Supreme Court, Harin Fernando said he had reliable information that the authorities were seeking to arrest and detain him under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). On hearing that he would be arrested under the draconian anti-terror law, Fernando said he had suffered severe chest pains and had to be admitted to the Nawaloka Hospital.
Fernando has been in the Intensive Care Unit and underwent surgery for a cardiac event, Colombo Telegraph learns.
The CID was seeking to question him on the basis of a remark he made at a press briefing on April 21, 2019, regarding the Easter Sunday bombings the petition filed by his lawyers in Supreme Court stated.
The petition filed on behalf of the SJB frontliner said that there was no allegation whatsoever that he was in any way connected to the Easter Sunday attacks. The petition also notes that he has consistently been severely critical of the Government over the bombings. On April 20, 2021, Fernando’s Supreme Court petition said he had made another speech in Parliament criticising Government leaders for the attacks and there was a commotion in Parliament that followed his remarks.
The petition stated that subsequent to his highly critical speech, several government MPs and government-affiliated organizations have urged the CID to launch an investigation and take criminal action against MP Fernando.
President’s Counsel Romesh De Silva instructed by counsel Sanath Wijewardane will appear on behalf of the firebrand SJB MP. Fernando’s fundamental petition cites the IGP, the Director of the CID, Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekera and the Attorney General as respondents.
Government Minister Johnston Fernando said the CID wanted to question Harin Fernando regarding statements he had made two years ago in relation to the Easter Sunday attacks. The knives have been out for Harin Fernando ever since his speech in Parliament on January 6, 2021 when he referred to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa by his first name Nandasena and propagated the idea of the “ස සාපේ” or “Sir Curse”.
[See video here]
Days later, the President shot back that he had killed Prabhakaran “like a dog” warning the Opposition MP that he was capable of becoming “that defence secretary Gotabaya again”.
The chilling warning prompted Fernando to write to the IGP about the President directly threatening his life.
[See story and video here]
On April 20, 2021 Fernando tempted fate again.
For months, opposition MPs in the JVP and the SJB have been hinting broadly about a connection between the Easter Sunday bomber cell and the Sri Lankan intelligence services.
Last week, Fernando became the first Parliamentarian to openly allude to a relationship between Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s State Intelligence Services Chief Major General Suresh Sallay. Fernando told Parliament about communications intercepts of messaging applications used by the bombers which referred to a code name “Sonic-Sonic” as being a person of authority in terms of the suicide cell. In the same speech Fernando insinuated that the code name Sonic-Sonic referred to the same person in charge of all intelligence services in the country as President Nandasena Rajapaksa’s most trusted intelligence official. He also referred to a certain intelligence chief “briefing” the Attorney General about the Easter Sunday commission report, in an unprecedented move. Recently, after the Government finally released the volumes of the report by the Commission it was holding on national security grounds, Sallay met with Attorney General Dappula De Livera to “brief him”. Intelligence Chiefs do not engage in law enforcement and criminal prosecution matters. However as Gotabaya’s SIS Chief, Sallay has already broken decades of precedent, becoming the only military official to ever serve as head of a police intelligence arm.
Watch Harin Fernando’s full speech in Parliament on April 20, 2021 here:
Since Fernando’s explosive revelations, decisions have been made at the highest levels that he will be given no quarter. The CID summoned Fernando for interrogation days later and sources inside the Government revealed that the MP was to be arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and detained for a minimum of 90 days.
Former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya slammed the interrogation of Harin Fernando’s sister as a grave violation of her human rights and a morally abhorrent act by the CID.
Jayasuriya who is now Chairman of the National Movement for Social Justice founded by late Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero, also slammed the Government’s treatment of ACMC Leader Rishad Bathiudeen, referring to the “unconventional nature of the arrest”. “It should be clarified why such an action (the arrest) was taken at 2AM without informing the Speaker,” Jayasuriya charged in a statement issued on Thursday (29).
There has been no reaction yet by the Samagi Janabalawegaya (SJB) about the interrogation of Fernando’s sister by the CID. (By Nimal Ratnaweera)