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Court told Sri Lankan Admiral hid wanted suspect at Navy base

Colombo Fort Magistrates was told yesterday by the Sri Lanka's Criminal Investigations Department (CID) there was evidence the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne hid a man wanted over the abduction and disappearance of 11 predominantly Tamil youths during 2008 - 2009. 

Wijegunaratne was last year held in remand, accused of hiding suspect Lieutenant Commander Chandana Prasad Hettiarachchi alias 'Navy Sampath' in order to evade arrest. 

His arrest came after weeks of evasion, during which time he made high profile appearances along side senior government figures. 

Prosecutors revealed at the time of his remanding, Wijegunaratne and associates reportedly attempted to abduct a key witness who had previously testified against him. Disruptions took place outside the court as men arriving on motorcycles, thought to be members of Wijegunaratne’s security personnel, proceeded to attack journalists.

According to the CID, Hettiarachchi was visited by his wife and another relative at the Navy base on several occasions and later gave a statement that he was ordered not to leave the base as there was a warrant for his arrest. 

During 2008 to 2009 eleven predominantly Tamil youths were abducted in the Colombo area, held for ransom at Trincomalee and Colombo navy bases, before being murdered. 

The eleven youths have been named as Kasthuriarachchi John, Thyagarajah Jegan, Rajiv Naganathan, Soosaipillai Amalan, Soosaipillai Roshan, Kasthuriarachchi Anton, Prageeth Vishvanathan, Thilakeshwaran Ramalingam, Moahmed Dilan, Mohamed Saajid and Ali Anwar. 

Last month the CID said the navy hierarchy, including Navy Commander Jayantha Perera and Intelligence Division Director Ananda Guruge knew about the abductions that occurred in Colombo during 2008 - 2009. 


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