9 July, 2020

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Unprincipled Or Scared: Eran Exposes Witch-Hunt Against Scribes, Lawyers And Cops; Condemns Silence Of Their Peers

UNP Lawmaker Eran Wickremaratne last night raised serious questions about the silence of professionals as the Government engaged in witch-hunts against their peers in a hard hitting speech in Parliament about the political transfers of police personnel and the attempts to frame journalists and media professionals for faking the abduction of Swiss Embassy Staffer Garnier Francis.

The Government was pushing the line that the abduction of a Swiss embassy worker was fabricated by three professionals – all of them people who have refused to bow down to threats and intimidation, Wickremaratne told Parliament, using time during the debate on the Airbus corruption scandal.

“The CID and the Government wants us to believe that former Sunday Observer Editor and New York Times journalist Dharisha Bastians former CID Director Shani Abeysekera and former Lake House and Hilton Chairman Krishantha Cooray a former working committee member of the UNP all got together to mastermind this fictitious abduction,” Wickremaratne explained. “They didn’t stop there. They went after the telephone records of Dharisha Bastians, Krishantha Cooray – a well known media personality – using the excuse of a criminal investigation.”

“They have said that without a shred of evidence, simply to frame them, because they did not bow to threats and intimidation,” he said during a speech in Parliament.

Blasting the CID for going into the phone records of Bastians and Cooray, Wickremaratne sought to remind the House that Sri Lanka was not a military state. “They are checking on Dharisha Bastians phone records to check whether she has made calls to the CID. She is a journalist. How can journalists practice their profession if their phone records are checked by the CID at their whim and fancy?” the UNP MP charged.

Wickremaratne emphasized that the CID must get a court order in order to go into a citizen’s phone details.

There was no doubt that the investigation was a witch-hunt, Wickremaratne said because the Government was also going after Bastians’ spouse, who was a career diplomat with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“He was sent to Geneva two years ago – now they want to put pressure on his wife, so he has been summarily recalled without explanation and without any replacement being named. In doing so, the Government has violated Gihan Indraguptha’s fundamental rights and legitimate expectations as a career civil servant. But they are also flouting an ancient foundational principle that underpins every decent system of law in the world. – it is not a UNP policy or a pohottuwa policy – that individuals should never be punished for things that they have not done,” the UNP MP said.

Wickremaratne slammed the media for remaining silent in the face of this persecution of a journalist and her family and the Police Commission for failing to stand up for police officers like Shani Abeysekera and CI Nihal Francis who led the MiG deal investigation. He also criticized the Bar Association of Sri Lanka and its President for its failure to stand up for an attorney at law who was recently grilled by the CID.

“It is not just that the Government is targeting and persecuting professionals. That is the lesser crime. The greater crime is this – that the peers of the persecuted have stood silently and not come to the defence of their comrades,” he emphasized.

“There was a time in Sri Lanka when the Government going after a journalist was enough to provoke an outcry in the media, through editorials and condemnation. I would like to ask the journalists: Are you unprincipled, or are you scared? “

Wickremaratne said not a single editorial had been written in newspapers about this witch hunt that is going on.

“There was a time when the NPC and the IGP would have stood firm against politically motivated transfers and defended honest police officers who were persecuted for doing their job,” he said.

Wickremaratne’s speech also referred to Anurangi Singh, a lawyer and journalist attached to the Sunday Observer was interrogated by the CID on February 10th about her contacts and telephone calls and for information about Bastians who was her former Editor.

“There was a time when the Bar Association of Sri Lanka would have risen up in arms if the Government got the CID to summon an attorney at law and to grill her about confidential information and journalistic sources. I would ask the President of BASL – don’t you care about what is happening?” the UNP MP charged.

He reminded the Government that during the five years that the Yahapalanaya regime had been in power, the head of the CID had never changed. “Our Government only had one CID head, who was appointed in 2012 under President Mahinda Rajapaksa. That person, DIG Ravi Seneviratne retired in 2019, under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa,” Wickremaratne recalled.

“Professionals whoever they are must be protected and allowed to do their jobs” he reiterated.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa however was going in a different direction, he noted. “When Gotabaya Rajapaksa assumed duties on the 19th of November, the very next day he transferred CID Director Shani Abeysekera, demoted him and sent him as a personal assistant to Galle,” he reminded the House.

“Police officials must stand up for their persecuted colleagues like Shani Abeysekera and Nihal Francis. Journalists must speak out against the pathetic attempts to frame people like Dharisha Bastians for an abduction merely because she made a telephone call. Career diplomats must stand in solidarity with Gihan Indraguptha who is being punished through no fault of his own. Lawyers and the BASL must object to the harassment and interrogation of Anurangi Singh by the CID and the judiciary and stand guard against any attempt to persecute Ranga Dissanayake for having the courage to stand tall,” Wickremaratne charged.

He added that former Lake House Chairman Krishantha Cooray was a “capable and committed” man. “He loves this country and has made huge sacrifices for it. Anyone who knows him well will agree with me that he is actually incapable of doing anything illegal or immoral. As a country, whatever party we belong to, we have a duty to protect people like him,” the UNP MP insisted. (By Chinthika De Silva)

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Latest comments

  • 4
    12

    This opinion comes straight from Kirimandala Mawatha HQ.
    /
    Its foreign inspired, and is designed to protect culprits like Dharisha Bastians who was behind the staging of the kidnapping, and her protectors like Shani Abeysekara. They are bound by Pentecostalism sect founded by Eran’s father.
    /
    His rhetoric needs to be seen for what it is.

    • 5
      1

      Unfortunately you have got the wrong side of the pole. Just to let you know there is nothing called Pentecostalism,this is a word coined by you due to your ignorance or extremely poor literary sense. I urge you to read about Pentecost only in the Bible and also Eran’s father Colton did not formulate or create WHAT YOU REFER TO AS PENTECOASTALISM . You should keep your mouth shut lest you might end up having a cow dung on your head

  • 6
    5

    Another acolyte of the master Mind of the broad daylight CB Robbery. …………
    Did he ever open his mouth?
    Now all bunkum.
    Another dodgy character taken refuge in Christianity.

    • 3
      3

      Thondamany,

      The choice of juicy words.. I love it..

      What do you reckon mate, Is this Dude trying to put his hand up for the UNP Boss Job after the Election, when Keselwatta Kid delivers Srikotha another thrashing by the Dalits.

      I mean look at the contents of the speech.

      Bending over to all and sundry who back the UNP , including the Swiss Ambassador and his local agents, Diaspora, NGOs
      And defending the heavy weight factional Leaders of the UNP , the likes of Dr Rajitha, Mr Rannawaka.
      Rauf Hakeem, Bathudeen , Assath Sally and Hesbollas , although not directly mentioned.

      And all put in to English in that emotional speech, with the Second Round , which is the main game just around the corner.

      That Christian bit and the fluency in English will definitely be pluses if the “spill” happens soon after the Sinhala Tamil New Year..

    • 1
      0

      Eran has awoken from deep slumber. Never spoke up against Yahapalanaya inefficiencies/ malpractice/ mis Governance. He is on his way out and exercising his vocal chords. Shame shame. Your time is up Sir Eran, go in peace.

  • 1
    1

    Not really he is standing up. When you say the right things people attack. Well done Eran. You talk of Susantha Rathnayake. The shameless man made so much as JKH Chair. Did not worry of the country. For influence they just agreed to everything and destroyed the airline. Now they have got better jobs, do the same with the BOI Susantha. Then go back to your millions. You disgraceful Sri Lankan’s! I am so sad

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