Former Sri Lankan minister and leader of the All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) Rishad Bathiudeen MP has spoken out against the arrest of his brother in connection with last year’s Easter Sunday attacks, alleging that the arrest was an act of political revenge.
The former minister’s brother Riyaz Bathiudeen was arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Puttalam on Tuesday.
In a video statement released on social media on Wednesday, Rishad Bathiudeen stated that neither he, his brother Riyaz, nor any other member of his family were involved in any terrorist activity.
While saying that his brother would fully cooperate with any investigation, Bathiudeen said: “Before the investigation has concluded, from the minute he was arrested, some racist media platforms have been spreading the false news that he is connected to the terror attacks.”
Bathiudeen suggested that he had been the victim of a racially-charged witch-hunt in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday bombings. “Since the terror attack took place I have been slandered with accusations of having links to them,” he said.
“We are prepared to take legal action against this act of revenge,” Bathiudeen added about the arrest of his brother.
On the same day, Sri Lankan police media spokesperson Jaliya Senaratne convened a special press conference on the arrest.
Riyaz Bathiudeen had direct links with one of the hotel bombers and had met with him before the attacks, Senaratne told media.
On Thursday, former minister Rishad Bathiudeen appeared before the CID on an unrelated case.