Sri Lanka court frees top detective ‘probing Rajapaksas’
A SRI LANKA court freed on bail the country’s top detective after 10 months behind bars on Wednesday (16), in a case that attracted the international condemnation of Colombo’s human rights record.
The Court of Appeal asked a lower court to free Shani Abeysekara and another detective accused of falsifying evidence in a trial that led to the conviction of a senior policeman for murder.
“They were ordered to be released on personal bail of one million rupees (£ 4,158) each,” a court official said.
Abeysekara was the head of the Criminal Investigation Department, which was investigating high-profile corruption cases and murders involving members of the Rajapaksa family and their associates.
Soon after Gotabaya Rajapaksa won the presidency in November 2019, Abeysekara was dismissed and was arrested on what rights activists say were false allegations.
The European Parliament last week singled out Abeysekara’s incarceration as an example of Sri Lanka’s persecution of individuals who were seen as a threat to the administration.
It asked Sri Lanka to either charge Abeysekara or release him unconditionally along with two others – human rights lawyer Hejaaz Hizbullah and poet Ahnaf Jazeem.
Their names have also figured in a United Nations Human Rights Council censure earlier this year of the south Asian nation’s worsening human rights record.
The Rajapaksa clan has held sway over the island nation’s politics since 2005, as well as having a major influence in key state institutions.
A constitutional amendment has given Rajapaksa family more powers over the judiciary as well as the public service.