Reverend Cyril Gamini Fernando who has been accused of defaming the Director of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) Major-General Suresh Salley, arrived at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) today (16), for the second day, to provide a statement in connection to the complaint filed by the director.
He was reportedly within the premises for over 8 hours yesterday.
The priest who has been vocal about the State investigations carried out with regards to the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks, according to the Major-General, made certain statements that concern the Major during a webinar titled ‘Justice for the Easter Sunday Bomb Victims in Sri Lanka in Pursuit of the Truth’ in October 2019. He appeared at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) yesterday (15) and today at 9.30 am to reportedly record another statement.
This is the third time that the priest has heen called to make a statement at the CID. When he was first called on the 28th of October the father requested further time to respond and, in the meantime, filed a Fundamental Rights (FR) petition before the Supreme Court, seeking an order to prevent him from being arrested once summoned to record a statement at the department.
When the matter was taken up for consideration before the Supreme Court last week, the Attorney General informed via the Supreme Court that Rev. Cyril Gamini Fernando will not be arrested, following the FR application filed by him – seeking an order to prevent any attempt to arrest him.
The Reverend, in his petition made an application to the Supreme Court requesting it to issue an order on the IGP, CID, and other officials, to prevent them from arresting him until the examination of the FR application may conclude.
On the 25th of October SIS Major General Suresh Salley filed a complaint with the CID against Reverend Cyril Gamini Fernando on “multiple malicious statements”, which allege the Major-General having known and associated with those who orchestrated the 2019 Easter Sunday Attacks.
Following the complaint lodged by the Major-General, the CID launched an investigation into the complaint as per Articles 3 (1) and 3 (2) of the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights (ICCPR) Act No. 56 of 2007 and several other Articles in the Penal Code.
Appearing before the CID buidling yesterday Reverend Cecil Joy Perera remarked, “On one hand we hear statements being made by people responsible to say that already people have been convicted, cases have been filed. But then, are we really pursuing the full truths? We are not interested in half truths.”
Previously, on the 19th of March this year, SIS Major General Suresh Salley lodged a complaint before the CID against SJB MP Nalin Bandara over a statement made by the MP at a press briefing on March 17th, which similarly linked him to Zahran Hashim.
The Parliamentarian Nalin Bandara had alleged that Suresh Salley met Zahran Hashim in Malaysia while he was working at the Sri Lankan embassy in Indonesia. The MP had further stated that Suresh Salley had facilitated Zahran Hashim’s trips to Malaysia, Indonesia and India. The MP alleged that the Major had knowledge about the Easter Sunday attacks, beforehand, and was not summoned before the Easter Sunday Commission to record a statement.
The SIS Director refuted the claims regarding the Easter Sunday Commission in his CID complaint, stating that he had testified before the Easter Sunday Commission, thrice.