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Court orders arrest of Sri Lanka's navy chief for helping suspect in Tamil youths murder

A Colombo court has ordered the arrest of Sri Lanka's chief of defence staff, Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne for allegedly helping the main suspect in the abduction and murder case of 11 Tamil youths evade arrest last year.  

Admiral Wijegunaratne is alleged to have provided the former navy commander, Lieutenant Commander Chandana Prasad Hettiarachchi alias 'Navy Sampath' Rs 500,000, in order for him to skip bail and escape arrest. 

“There is evidence against Admiral Wijegunaratne’s role in allowing the accused to evade arrest,” the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) was quoted by AFP as saying to the magistrate earlier this month. 

Colombo Fort Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne had instructed the bank of Ceylon to release records of the the navy's account from March to May 2017. 

Lieutenant Commander Prasad Chandana Hettiarachchi, alias 'Navy Sampath', was arrested this week by Sri Lankan authorities. 

Eleven Tamil youths were abducted from 2008 to 2009 and held in navy bases at Trincomalee and Colombo before being murdered. 

Admiral Wijegunaratne was previously filmed assaulting a journalist covering a story on Hambantota port in December 2016. 

Despite this the Sri Lankan president, Maithripala Sirisena extended Admiral Wijegunaratne's service and promoted him to Chief of Defence Staff. 

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