Colombo Telegraph

Independence Of Judiciary Questioned After Court Acquits All Suspects In Raviraj Murder

Tamil politicians, including a Minister and activists have expressed their disappointment over the ruling by the Colombo High Court which acquitted all five suspects involved in the murder of former TNA MP Nadaraja Raviraj.

Raviraj

According to reports Lawyer and TNA Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran, who also represented the victim’s family in the case said he did not accept the ruling, and will appeal Saturday’s ruling, which saw five personnel including three former intelligence officers of the Sri Lanka Navy being released.

Sumanthiran pointed out that this verdict is one reason why the TNA was continuously advocating for foreign judges to be present in an effort to maintain the independence of the judiciary, even when it comes to matters relating to war crimes.

Meanwhile, Minister of National Coexistence Dialogue and Official Languages Mano Ganesan who also tweeted his disappointment over Saturday’s ruling said the decision was frustrating because the ruling made it look as if Raviraj shot himself and his security. “It is frustrating as if Raviraj shot himself and his security,” he said.

Raviraj was shot dead in November 2006 along with his bodyguard. He was shot five times while his police bodyguard Sergeant Laxman Lokuwella was shot eight times.

Following the court decision, Suren Surendiran, spokesman of the GTF highlighted that all the accused, legal representatives, as well as the judge and seven jurors were Sinhalese, while the victim who was murdered was Tamil. “Should Tamils trust Sri Lanka’s justice system?,” he asked.

The order release was granted to the suspects after the case was heard before a special jury, even though the state witness had given details of the murder plot including who had pulled the trigger to kill Raviraj.

Incidentally, the order is the latest in a series of court decisions to release military intelligence officers, after President Maithripala Sirisena launched a verbal attack over the arresting and remanding of army intelligence officers in October. Since Sirisena’s statement, all arrested army intelligence officers including Army Intelligence Officer Premananda Udalagama who was involved in the murder case of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge has been released. Also, the last two Army Intelligence Officers who were remanded in connection with the disappearance of Prageeth Ekneligoda, were also released last month.

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