25 August, 2019

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Sri Lankan Army Reinstates Official Suspected In Lasantha Murder And Other Attacks: Rights Groups Condemn

The Committee to Protect Journalists today expressed alarm that a Sri Lankan military intelligence official–who, according to news reports and court documents, is linked to attacks on at least three journalists–was restored to active duty.

Army Commander Senanayake

Prabath Bulathwatte‘s reinstatement as a major was announced on May 11 by Army Chief Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake in an interview with news broadcaster Ada Derana.

In 2017, authorities arrested five military intelligence officers in relation to the 2008 abduction and assault of columnist Keith Noyahr, CPJ reported at the time. Maj. Bulathwatte was among the suspects, according to the Centre for Policy Alternatives, an independent think tank in the capital, Colombo. During the investigation, police found evidence linking the men to the 2009 murder of Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, according to news reports.

Ahimsa Wickrematunge, Lasantha’s daughter, filed a civil case in April in U.S. court against former Sri Lankan Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, alleging that Rajapaksa operated a clandestine military intelligence unit known as the “Tripoli Platoon” that was responsible for her father’s assassination as well was attacks on Noyahr and Rivira weekly editor Upali Tennakoon.

Bulathwatte was the leader of that platoon, according to news reports citing police investigations. He was released on bail from the Noyahr investigation, according to Colombo-based newspaper Daily FT. No charges against Bulathwatte have been disclosed.

“Promoting to active duty an intelligence officer who has been implicated in the killing of one journalist and the torture of two others severely undermines Sri Lanka’s claim that it is fighting impunity for crimes against journalists,” said CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Steven Butler in Taipei. “Instead, the move creates new threats to journalists in Sri Lanka, who are not safe to do their jobs.”

CPJ’s emailed requests for comment to the Sri Lanka army did not receive a response. CPJ reached out to the army, local civil society groups, and journalists in Sri Lanka in an attempt to obtain contact information for Bulathwatte, but was unable to contact him. Rajapaksa did not respond to a CPJ message in April seeking comment on the U.S. lawsuit.

In his televised interview, Senanayake said that Bulathwatte had been aware of one of the suspects in last month’s bombings in Sri Lanka, which killed more than 253 people, and that sidelining the major had resulted in intelligence setbacks, according to Daily FT. Senanayake said that Bulathwatte had been placed on a special team that functions directly under him, according to the paper.

Emergency regulations remain in place in Sri Lanka after the deadly Easter bombings. On May 13, Sri Lankan internet providers blocked Facebook, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, YouTube, and Snapchat for the third time this month, according to international digital rights group NetBlocks and news reports. Twitter was blocked on May 13 for the first time, according to NetBlocks.CPJ has reported how these blocks limit journalists’ ability to do their jobs safely and securely.

Meanwhile Sri Lanka working Journalists Association has also strongly condemned the decision taken to restore Major Prabhath Bulathwatte. We publish below the statement in full:
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Latest comments

  • 5
    16

    CPA should be investigated by Intelligence officers if CPA Supported some Wayamba riots ,to see if they at least indirectly funded it. I say CPA has some role in the destabilization of Sri lanka.
    Western Human rights also does not work in Sri lanka or in Asian countries. for example, Muslims Teachers, as did in the Tirikunamale Hindu School, tried to overtake and Islamize a Hindu School. They won using the Human rights. but, that would not have happened in the West. In the west, those muslim teachers would not have been hired in to that School because, the principal had the ability to refuse those teachers saying they are not suitable for that school. But, in Sri lanka, Teachers are appointed by the govt and Principal has no space to refuse them. Sri lanka should have Block schools and block hospitals. then One school is connected to a grouip of School and they have the permission to develop the whole group as one.

    • 13
      1

      Is this appointment follows the Tête e tête between the Racist Goat man and Oh Bake I guess.
      What ever it is it’s dangerous path.
      Too many people are getting hurt and too many wrong doers are appointed to look after the country. The foxes are guarding the chicken coop the results, we can guess.
      The country has gone down the drain .

  • 5
    30

    Ranil questioned, harassed, arrested and removed lose to 350 Intelligence officers and made the Intel wing very demoralized. So, that has to be revived.
    Homicide bomb attack is a result of that. Hidden hand wanted it. They were preparing for this since 2016. Asked Ranil and Harsha De Silva to get ready for it. But, they did not listen. Now, they have to listen.

  • 32
    0

    Where the leader has no scruples there can be no justice
    .
    Where there is no justice there can be no peace.
    .
    Where there is no peace there is no progress.
    .
    Where there is no progress there is no future.
    .
    It is time we kicked the gamarala the half baked, spinless, shameless, piece of thrash out to where belongs, the streets.

  • 5
    1

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 27
    1

    This is the sort of thing that will happen when we have an ex-Grama Sevaka as the President of the Republic!

  • 20
    4

    The Committee to Protect Journalists

    You are reminded that here in this island we have Revolving Doors for crooks, criminals, b***s carriers, ……….war criminals.

    If you want relatively clean government, honest state functionaries …………. please leave this island go to Singapore, Canada, Scandinavian Countries, ……………..

    You have been living in a Cloud Cuckoo Land and may I ask why?

    • 5
      15

      Well, we believe in the rule of law and justice, Mr who ever you are.
      ]
      After some one was found not guilty of an alleged crime (against journalists or anyone else makes no difference!), it holds that the accusation was never made.
      ]
      On these grounds, we have become ‘dickless’ to protest against the reinstatement of Major Bulathwaththa.
      ]
      We wish him luck in his new duties to eliminate the ISSI animals.

      • 5
        0

        Mr. D**k Head,
        The case was never heard, still pending. It’s been over ten years ??. Birds of a feather??
        “After some one was found not guilty of an alleged crime “. Get your facts right.

      • 4
        0

        Looks like your dick is as small as your brain.

  • 27
    9

    Sri Lanka does not have a disciplined military. You cannot create a disciplined military with rotten apples. Sri Lanka recruited the rural uneducated for the battle front and some educated but racist bigots as officers. Used rape and murder against its own with the blessing of the govt. Murdered anyone willing to speak up and blamed it on the LTTE.
    Sinhala Buddhist who are average in intelligence at best just bought what ever crap the govt was willing to sell.

    • 6
      5

      Burt, your outrageous lies and exaggerations only push moderate Sinhalese into the arms of extremists. Like the Tamils and Muslims, the Sinhalese are not immune from reacting like this. But on the other hand that is exactly what you want right? Then you can condemn them again, and claim you were right. People like you Burt should not be allowed to call yourself Tamil. You really are the scum of mankind. Fortunately most Sinhalese can distinguish between scum and real Tamils.

      • 9
        2

        paul

        “People like you Burt should not be allowed to call yourself Tamil.”

        How about defeated Tamil as Taraki would like to call them?
        Are you telling this forum if one raises a reasonable concern based on the pattern of past Military behaviour in this country it will push moderate Sinhalese into the arms of extremists? Basically you are telling the readers in this forum Sinhalese are gullible, ready to buy anything from their side of the extremists, ….. and react.

        I do not think you too have a selective short memory.
        Did Tamils or Muslims provoke or push moderate Sinhalese into the arms of racist killer thugs in 1956, 1958, 1961, …. 1974, 1977, 1981, 1983, 2014, 2018, now, ………… Will they be provoked if they heard Muslim and/or Tamil couples are regularly having sex?

        We actually do not know what acts exactly will provoke the Sinhala/Buddhist armed forces, thugs, moderates, saffron clad thugs, ………………… or when exactly will they be provoked.

        If we do not call a spade a spade what do you suggest that we call them?

        If politicians, ministers, armed forces, and …. were so raged to have the library and 95,000 rare books and ola manuscripts burned down, what sort of people are you defending. Are you one of the moderate who needs a small spark to rage and goon rampage?

        Don’t tell us the Sinhalese are so demeaned hence we should turn a blind eye or praise them for what they are or what they do?
        You should be condemning the crooks, criminals, war criminals, rapists, looters, arsonists, … it appears you want to punish those who highlight the Sinhala/Buddhist hypocrisy.

        What shameless life you are leading.

        “Fortunately most Sinhalese can distinguish between scum and real Tamils.”

        What a pity they can’t see the difference between dignified human and racist murderers among themselves.

    • 1
      4

      Here we go again . Burt the bigot !

  • 17
    2

    “In his televised interview, Senanayake said that Bulathwatte had been aware of one of the suspects in last month’s bombings in Sri Lanka, which killed more than 253 people, and that sidelining the major had resulted in intelligence setbacks, according to Daily FT”

    what a indispensable person this bulathwatte is.Without him we will never get any intelligence.sack all the more than 10000 who work in the intelligence services.

    ps.when is the retirement date for army commander?Otherwise he may also become indispensable.

    • 5
      0

      First MARA was predicting of imminent more massacres by ISIS soon after the 21st bombings as he was spreading fear psychosis to the the Racists then he ran to meet the con artist murderous fat blog in prison saying the fat blog will give informations and also to release him from prison.
      What sort of drama queens the whole lot of them? Now accusing the minister saying he was causing the Racists majority to go nuts and asking for inquiry.
      These so called Jokers in the Opposition can really turn and twist as they please doing somersaults. This country is a real joke of Soap dramas and actors.

  • 22
    1

    He is looking for another extension and Diplomatic post after that. He has chosen the right way. This way he will be in good books of Silisena and Rajapaksha. He is telling without any shame that there is a intelligent gap without that person. Is he suitable to hold that post is the big question. He may have done it with the blessings of Silisena under the instructions from Rajapaksha Mafia. He is another “Mike Tyson” with big mouth.

  • 8
    1

    Honesty and wholeheartedness should come from they themselves. That should be grown in their hearts. Just because this men are under HEAD OF MEANS not that they should be that obsequeous to him going beyond the limits. Lankens in general would do anything if they would have been asked. Entire world is making us the nation (entire nation) a laughing stock today.

    One of my colleagues (English) questioned me yesterday, if the threats are eminent and the minister of defence is the head of state, why on earth HEAD himself was needed to leave for CHINA ? who has hee all along been fooling ? And why you guys the kind of a bugger to ruin your life down there etc ?They further questioned, when would our president stop fooling own folks and the international community and why is he upto that ? If we the folks beleive that the presidents education is lower to any average clerical clerk why a candidate of the nature, in a highly literate nation, got elected as the president.

    I was speechless, but I knew the ground reality of lanken society. Majority of them are gulliable and would be caught easily being played by some vicious politicians. That I could not explain my colleagues, since we have to be ashamed as NATION, if I would share them all.

  • 4
    0

    The move seems cleverly timed.
    Glad that people are on the alert.

    • 2
      0

      People are helpless. It is daunting and frustrating

      • 4
        3

        Patriot

        “People are helpless. It is daunting and frustrating”

        Not true, Taraki is around saving people single handedly

  • 14
    0

    This is exactly the reason why Lanka is a failed state. If the facts are correct I am not surprised. We saw a monk spewing hatred , our security lapses, lying President, disabled Government , intelligence lapses,, Hemasiri, public out of control, breakdown in law and order , riots continuing during curfew hours —— all this in the aftermath of a worse human tragedy. What this means is exploiting the tragedy for personal or political gains.The first move by a General after a tragedy, during riots, is to get a political pardon for an accused and reinstate to avoid, obstruct and deviate all inquiries. To check the wrong doers we bring more wrongdoers. This is a pattern which was established during MR days ( Appe Minnusu)and still continues unabated. We saw people who participated in riots, politicians, extremist (zaharan including), people involved in crimes/murders all going scot free, because of criminal politicians.. So eventually people are left with criminals only who are managing the country.

  • 19
    1

    Army commander must be ashamed of himself. According to him army intelligence had been weakened because this murderer was not there. Get Gnanasara also out, then we have nothing to be afraid because they would handle the situation which Mahesh Senanayake was not able to control

  • 4
    1

    MAN WHO KILLED LASANTHA; I HAVE GIVEN A STATEMENT TO CID.

  • 14
    0

    “In his televised interview, Senanayake said that Bulathwatte had been aware of one of the suspects in last month’s bombings in Sri Lanka, which killed more than 253 people” If this man had been aware of a suspect, he should have been arrested for not disclosing information that could have helped to stop this carnage.

  • 7
    1

    The commander’s excuse for reinstatement is pathetic. There has to be another more important reason.. To put this matter at rest somebody must name and count the number of intelligence officers that have been persecuted. JD (the know all) says it is 350. Can he substantiate this with names?

  • 6
    5

    Even the Tiny Maldives Island security forces are much better than 99% SL Sinhala dominated Cardboard forces who are still celebrating Nandikadal party daily, a fake, artificial, borrowed victory.

    Remove all Musulim staff, if you still trust them you are taking this cursed country into never returning deep shit.

    Cheers

  • 12
    1

    Only in this banana republic will we see thugs and murderers get preferential treatment, and given top posts despite blood on their filthy hands.
    Didn’t Sirisena give the war crimes suspect Shavendra Silva a top post too?
    Only in this banana republic murder suspects are rewarded with jobs they do not deserve. Disgusting.

  • 9
    1

    Craig, It is less than ten intel officers and trust me the evidence against them are so conclusive that action had to be taken. If not Lankan government will be further scrutinized and Lankan government will have nothing to show meaningful in Geneva. Some of them may be scapegoats too (which I dont know). But MS is determined to save them all and has said the same officially to press. But the fact is Zaharan and a few bombers were arrested and released , The people behind, the riots were arrested and released, the politicians who were in close nexus with extremist are out there in official role, all the people who ignored the warnings are still working, Hemasiri and Pujitha (who MS promised to arrest) are out there with not even an inquiry against them, MS who lied is visiting China, The Monk who we saw in the video and the mob are still active and free in society, The General who is accused of crimes is now pardoned, not one person in the government or admin is accountable but poor men/women who are not connected with the killings, in the name of inquiry is arrested and put in prison for indefinite time under PTA. This is called Lankan LOW and ODOR.

  • 4
    2

    Patriot

    “People are helpless. It is daunting and frustrating”

    Not true, Taraki is around saving people single handedly

  • 4
    0

    Parliament should ask the Army Commander to appear before them and question him under what conditions did he reinstate an accused of murder. This shows the mentality of the Commander and the Army on the whole. This is the reason why UN is demanding action. President as the Minister in Charge of Defense should immediately stop this appointment. If he does not, it clearly shows its the President who is to be blamed for UN demanding foreign intervention in SL. Why the Lawyers Associations in SL are not filing an action in the courts against this appointment?

  • 2
    18

    If the lives or limbs of your loved ones are in danger of being lost in a second in a suicide blast while they in school, at worship or at play, who would you prefer in your corner, to try to prevent it and to track down and remove the terrorists?

    Who would you turn to and rely on to protect you and your families from the Evil Ones?

    Army Chief and Special Forces Commander Mahes Senanayaka and Major Bulathwatte OR the “Rights Groups” who are criticizing them?

    • 10
      2

      “If the lives or limbs of your loved ones are in danger of being lost in a second in a suicide blast while they in school, at worship or at play, who would you prefer in your corner, to try to prevent it and to track down and remove the terrorists?”
      *
      Is a murder suspect the man to save us?
      Does Dr DJ know more than what the Army Chief has told us?

    • 7
      2

      What an abject, pathological boor you are, Dayan. This is similar to the question that someone posed to me recently: If you are to choose between GR and RW as President to fight terror in Lanka, who will it be?

      What a shameful specimen you are. You are a disgrace to the institution which bestowed on you the degree that you boast.

    • 0
      0

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

    • 3
      0

      Dr DJ / De Silva ( Pseudo)
      Rights groups are always right. Take the right path for long peace and prosperity for our country and for our future generations.
      Sticking Plaster for a gaping wound is Temporary , as its bound to explode !
      Long term solution without hurting the nation’s citizens certainly needed at this very late hour.
      Israel, and US wants to use SL for its own war , our Srilanka and its people are not PAWN, JUST REMEMBER.
      WE want peace not hullabaloo. They can whip up the war with their wealth SL should not get into this short term remedy.
      As you say who would you run to when your bones and flesh are blown up , certainly I will run to talk to put things right , that’s the “Rights groups”

      Violence never brings peace LOL. fake dr Dayan Jayatilleke!
      Haven’t you got a job given by Silli to mind the 7/11 shop in Russia??
      Please stop pretending and fan Racism and destruction to my nation.
      We’re not a wealthy nation, All we have is Plenty of Begging Bowls as a nation, sorry it’s so shameful to say after 70 years of Independence.
      From my observation most of the country who has received Independence before and after are thriving or surviving without ” BEGGING BOWLS”where as we are still in the Rut with the advice like yours.
      Why don’t you get lost .LOL!! Faker 0r Spineless destroyer of our nation.

      • 4
        0

        Srilanka is not a Namby Pamby to get involved in others wars.
        Yes GR has been bought by America for his war crime charges / and murders of students and journalists on a ” Plea Bargain “I guess , with his expertise on annihilation of the nation’s minorities , he is another spineless blood thirsty dog.
        For money and power over the people and the country he will go to the extreme to sell the Minorities for his own gain.
        All with the Fabricated Srilanka history in one hand and the adultered Chronicles of Narnia Wamsa.
        All what we have will be lost in promises of ISIS War.
        I’m not a historian but an ordinary human who is a patriot has the wisdom to analyse.

    • 2
      0

      Dayan, dear “Puss Pundit”, when we have a Chief of Defense staff accused of harbouring a murderer, an Army Chief who reinstates a senior officer accused of murder and attacking another media person, an Army Chief who comes out and says that a Soldier is not supporting the mob, but the mob ends up attacking… what else can we expect from SL army and the Minister of Defense Maithripala other than stupid acts such as these. International community is correct in asking for foreign intervention in SL.

  • 1
    3

    “Rajapaksa did not respond to a CPJ message in April seeking comment on the U.S. lawsuit”

    Lol. As if he was supposed to respond to them. Learn your place CPJ. I cant wait until US courts dismiss Ahimsa’s case against Gota as he is no longer an American citizen.

    • 1
      1

      The Lankan Armed Services has been allowed to evolve, like the Egyptian forces, into a ‘Law unto Themselves’. Where in the world will one find the Armed Services offering amnesty to deserters a decade after the war ended?
      The timing of Prabath Bulathwatte‘s reinstatement as a Major, announced on May 11 by Army Chief Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake, shows
      (i) Armed Services will choose their loyalty, AND (ii) Dare decline extension to Mahesh.
      PS: Question: Will Mahesh ever investigate Bodu Bala Sena?
      .
      We are down to individuals or group of, outwitting each other in their own selfish pursuits.
      We, layLankans, have begun to see through.

  • 9
    1

    DJ, your comments shows your maturity. You are one of those cunning fools mentioned in Suranimala article.Superficially if anyone reads your comment will be impressed and agree. Actually what you mean is, it is ok to bring a criminal to take care of another, which has always been your way of thinking and preaching. Sorry to say the world dosent function the way you think. In your twisted and pervasive thinking two wrongs are right. That is why people of your ilk has no respect to “Low and Odor”. We are well aware of the letter you wrote to bring down a legitimate government. People like you and Rajeewa are the reason for the sorry state of out nation. Rajeewa blamed the whole Muslim community was behind Easter carnage. And you wish to bring a criminal to kill innocent Muslims as a revenge for what a bunch of shit heads did. Did you get a doctorate for this shit.

  • 0
    1

    The working Journalist not aware of Muslim terrorist attack killed 400 of innocent citizens and foreigners who has been killed and 800 causalities of women children and men that Churches of Easter Sunday and other been to Breakfast at key Hotels in Colombo morning 21/4-19.
    So soon Journalists has deliberating forget massacre by Islam terrorist within three weeks time!
    The an incident of massacre by Muslim Terrorist of not only local and but according to Wickrasinghe ‘s clan of life-time President of UNP said that was a Globally Terrorism launch by ISIS 21/4.
    Facts of truth dodge massacre by ISIS these journalist having no common senses of that living human beings an Island. ..PEOPLE. Indeed these journalism having common features of Western interest of that platform by side by side STAND of so-called WAR CRIMININAL charges against security forces of Island

    The these bunch of Journalist talk on previous so-called kidnapped by intelligence officers wrongly charges has been nothing to do with killing or kidnappers of said victims.
    The current UNP -regime being to power that 1/8/15 led by of UNP- RW +CBK+ Tamil federalist +MS of New UNP’s that target of intelligence Offices of security forces not that vital nation security of People; it was their working relationship vital interest of USA +UK an Island by aim of occupy & installed USA Military base in Sri Lanka.

    We know that very well many of these journalist are in playing in Foreign role in support of USA and UK interest to that surrender national Sovereignty of People of Sri Lankan. to Western occupational forces .

  • 6
    1

    Senanayake needs a hit man to continue his hit jobs and so took on Bulathwatte. These two together murdered 2 journalists and are both out on the streets. The country is gone to the dogs. I can see what their plan is. Get rid of the Muslims and the Tamils and then can claim the country as theirs. B******s. Should be shot with their own shit.

    • 1
      3

      Yeah. Sinhalese are coming to destroy Tamils and Muslims . So innocent Tamils and Muslims have no other choice but setting up bombs to stop the Sinhalese. Is that so Dumbazz ?

  • 4
    0

    Forgive me if I am wrong but generally I thought that Dayan is an educated, well informed person with logic and rational thinking, that is an exception to today’s situation in SL. But to my utmost horror he uttered something that I cannot understand. Or someone else using his name? The issue my dear Dayan is not about the army or any army for that matter but about the action of this guy Mahesh, who is trying to be a hero among the carnage like our holy Cardinal. How can you Dayan say that the killer, abductor, ransom seeker be appointed back in service ignoring not only the law of the land (if it has one) but basic decency and humanity? Dayan are you a Buddhist by any chance? Do you mean to say that if not for this Bulathvitta there is no security in this country? Only he knows everything? How about his infamous and antiBuddhist acts against humanity. When several Muslims were reporting about terrorist activities for several months what you, Mahesh, MY3 and MR were doing? What Mahesh was doing when Gotta was providing funds to these fanatics including Gnanasara? Then why not appoint Bulathvitta as Army Commander? You guys all get together to make SL a big joke. Why not suggest Mahesh to remove the military uniform and instead wear the clergy uniform of yellow robe that suits him well with the well shaved head. Even clergy nowadays in SL don’t shave their heads so short.

    • 3
      0

      He is highly educated but has very low moral values. Moral education is not taught in the universities but at home by the parents and elders in the family.

  • 1
    4

    Good decision by the commander. If Mr bulattwarre is not cot convicted of any crimes he is still Innocent. Innocent until proven guilty that what law says. Just because few ltte apologists want to lock up our military officers anyhow doesn’t mean they are criminals. They have sacrificed most of their lives to safeguard this nation. So they deserve proper due process.

  • 3
    0

    Have seen similar episodes in western movies. A convicted criminal is brought out of jail to perform a task for the government. If he survives, he is free to go. They should get another 11 and we can have a dirty dozen remake.

  • 0
    0

    Everyone in high positions are trying to line their nests or gilded cages off the ‘tragedy’ that was the 2019 Lankan Easter Sunday.
    Lankan Army Chief Lt Gen Mahesh Senanayake is no exception. He wants extension and auctions his loyalty.
    To get the loyalty of the soldiers ‘The Daily Mirror’ of 18 May (today) says that Mahesh claims that the soldiers involved in the Nattanidiya video not at fault.
    Remember Mahesh exonerated the Defence Attache’ over the throat-slitting gesture.
    Mahesh claimed that the Lankan UN Peace Keepers in Haiti not guilty of any sexual misconduct.
    He has promised not to hinder the activities of Bodu Bala Sena (BBS)
    The list is far too long.
    What a Commander!

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