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Sri Lankan Court of Appeal blocks proceedings against Navy Commander over youth abduction case

Karannagoda sits in between Mahinda and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

Sri Lanka’s Court of Appeal issued an interim injunction Thursday, preventing the Colombo High Court from hearing a case against Former Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda and thirteen others accused of the disappearance and abduction of 11 youth.

The Attorney General filed indictments with over 667 charges against the 14 individuals in connection with the torture, extortion, abduction and conspiracy to murder 11 youths in 2008-2009.

The Ex-Navy commander filed a petition before the Court Appeals stating the original case filed by the Attorney General was “unjustifiable.” He called for an interim injunction suspending the case against him and the 13 others until his petition is heard and a verdict is issued to acquit him of all charges.

Court of Appeals President A.H.M.D. Nawaz and Justice Sobhitha Rajakaruna, granted this injunction allowing the court to hear the writ petition filed by Karannagoda. The hearing of this petition began Tuesday, June 23rd.

The Court of Appeal’s decision comes despite Karannagoda having been re-issued court summons on at least four separate occasions. He had failed to appear in court, despite being pictured at high profile events with senior military and political leaders.

Reacting to the decision, the Sri Lanka Campaign tweeted “Welcome to Sri Lanka's new "Disciplined, Virtuous and Lawful Society," where the senior courts intervene to protect soldiers alleged to have abducted and killed young people for money”.

“This is why Sri Lanka needs an international accountability mechanism,” it added.

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

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. 

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