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Sri Lanka’s top military officer held over disappearances of Tamils as journalists attacked outside court

Sri Lanka’s highest ranking military officer Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne has been remanded in custody over his involvement in the cover up of the disappearance and murder of 11 Tamil youths, in a dramatic day in court.

Admiral Wijegunaratne stands accused of helping the main suspect accused of conducting the disappearances evade arrest. Dressed in full military regalia and flanked by supporters at the court, he denied all charges and will be on remand until December 5th. His application for bail was rejected.

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

Though three arrest warrants had been issued for the admiral this month, he was not arrested at any point. Instead, he continued to make several public appearances, frequently appearing alongside senior government officials.