Sri Lankan priest challenges summons following Easter bombings

Sri Lanka Supreme Court to Hear Fundamental Rights Application by Father Cyril Gamini to Prevent Possible Arrest for Raising Questions About State Intelligence Agents’ Involvement in Sunday Bombings Easter.

Father Gamini was summoned by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) after a complaint from Major General Suresh Salley, director of the State Intelligence Service, alleging that the priest and others had made certain statements in connection with the terrorist atrocity of 2019.

Prominent Catholic priest and member of the Archdiocesan Proclamation Committee for Truthfulness-Searching of the Easter Bombings, Father Gamini is said to have said that intelligence units provided financial and other vital assistance to Saharan Hashim , leader of the National Thowheed Jamath, involved in the attack on churches and hotels.

The priest did not appear before the CID but filed a petition with the Supreme Court asking for an interim injunction against the attempts to arrest him.

Father Gamini told the court he revealed the facts during an online chat to raise awareness both locally and abroad about the Easter Sunday attacks. His team of lawyers had informed the CID why he could not appear before him on November 3.

His lawyers also argued before the Supreme Court how the priest’s basic human rights were violated by the convocation of the CID.

Catholics in Sri Lanka have repeatedly expressed their dissatisfaction with the lack of desirable progress in the investigation of the attacks.

Ruwini Niroshika, an activist and teacher at Negombo Sunday School, said there appeared to be a plan by the CID to arrest Father Gamini after recording his statements.

“We doubt that some officials and politicians want to silence the Church on the issue [of the Easter Sunday attacks]”Niroshika said.

Vijitha Herath, an opposition MP, criticized the convening of the CID as an attempt to create a “systematic conflict” between Catholics and Buddhists on the one hand, and Buddhists and Muslims on the other.

On October 27, the CID informed the Colombo District Court that an investigation had been opened into comments on the Easter Sunday attacks made by Father Gamini and other Catholic priests in an online forum. .

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Major General Salley had claimed that the forum had raised false allegations against him in connection with the attacks and had put his life and that of members of his family in danger.

Catholics in Sri Lanka have repeatedly expressed their dissatisfaction with the lack of desirable progress in the investigation of the attacks.

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