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Ranil appears alongside Sri Lankan military official wanted for helping suspect in Tamil youths murder

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe appeared at a defence conference alongside Sri Lanka's chief of defence staff Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne on Thursday, just a day after a Colombo court had ordered his arrest for allegedly helping the main suspect in the abduction and murder case of 11 Tamil youths evade arrest. 

Admiral Ravindra 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 over the case of eleven Tamil youth who were abducted from 2008 to 2009 and held in navy bases at Trincomalee and Colombo before being murdered.

Despite this, Admiral Wijegunaratne was seen alongside Sri Lanka’s prime minister as he entered the 'Colombo Defence Seminar - 2018' as it kicked off in Colombo on Thursday. He was seen walking down the red carpet, alongside the prime minister and other senior military officials.

Mr Wickremsinghe praised the military at the opening ceremony of the seminar, as Tamils in the North-East protested to mark the International Day Of The Victims Of Enforced Disappearances on Thursday. He congratulated the Sri Lanka Army “for putting Sri Lanka on the world map” by hosting the 'Colombo Defence Seminar - 2018', where he spoke on how he believed social media was becoming a disruptive force globally.

His comments came as Tamil families of the disappeared from Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Jaffna and Vavuniya joined local families and civil society activists in Mannar and called for an international investigation as they marked International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances on Thursday.

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.

Despite the massive police and security presence at the defence seminar in Colombo, no attempt was made to arrest him.

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