With undue pressure from President Maithripala Sirisena, an Army Intelligence Officer who was identified as the culprit behind the assault of former editor of Rivira Newspaper, Upali Tennakoon and his wife was released on bail today.
Gampaha Magistrate Kaweendra Nanayakkara ordered Army Intelligence Officer Premananda Udalagama to be released on a cash bail of Rs. 25,000 and three sureties of Rs. 500,000.
The decision comes just days after President Sirisena launched a verbal attack against the arresting and remanding of Army Intelligence Officers who have been involved in various criminal activities including being linked to murder.
In August, Upali Tennakoon has identified Army Intelligence Officer Premananda Udalagame as his attacker.
Just days after the assassination of Founder Editor of Sunday Leader Lasantha Wickrematunge, Tennakoon and his wife came under attack in Gampaha in January 2009. The culprits came on motorbikes and followed a similar attack style which was carried out to attack Wickrematunge, although the attack on Tennakoon was not meant to be fatal.
Despite Nanayakkara releasing Udalagama on bail, Mount Lavinia Magistrate yesterday further remanded Udalagama till October 28 over his alleged involvement in the murder of Wickrematunge.
A couple of months ago in a Facebook post, Nanayakkara called on the Attorney General to ‘think before he leaps’ and also asked the AG’s officers to think before they spoke in connection to a case against Thilina Gamage who was released on bail for illegally possessing an elephant. “The AG must realise when to tie his dogs and keep then on a leash. Each judge of minor judiciary has one time or the other encountered with Gamage and thereby run a risk of having an allegation thrown against him by AG and ignorant media (undoubtedly backed by that officer of AG. If I may ask, why take such a risk)” she said in her post.