03/23/2024, 11.36
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Easter 2019 massacres: Sirisena says he knows the 'real perpetrators'

by Melani Manel Perera

The former president - already convicted of failing to prevent the attacks that caused 273 deaths - now says he is willing to reveal in a closed court hearing the secrets he has kept on the affair still without justice. Fr. Rohan Silva: 'If the government had courage it should arrest him immediately'.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - "I am ready to reveal the real perpetrators of the 2019 Easter Sunday massacres." The latest declaration by former Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena revive the thirst for justice of the victims of the tragedy that claimed the lives of 273 people on 21 April 2019, as well as injuring 500 others.

Speaking to journalists in Kandy, Sirisena - who was sentenced by the Supreme Court in early 2023 to pay compensation for failing to prevent the massacres - said he was willing to reveal circumstances that had hitherto been kept secret.

"The suspects who are currently in custody in connection with the bombings," he said, "are minor offenders. The real perpetrators are still at large. I am ready to shed light on the perpetrators of the Easter Sunday attacks and to make a special statement if I am summoned to court,' he continued, adding, however, hissily that having so far kept this information secret, 'it is imperative that the judges also keep it secret'.

The political exponent's new statements were taken as a challenge by the movements that support the request for justice of the victims' families. “If the current government really had courage, former president Maithripala Sirisena should be arrested immediately” Fr. Rohan Silva, director of the Center for Social and Religions commented in a press conference . “Take these opportunities to deliver justice and not betray the families of the 500 injured and 273 dead who are still suffering.”

Fr. Silva also recalled that the Catholic Church and other groups that support the victims have always maintained "that there are masterminds behind these massacres. It was a group that carried out a planned program with a political motive. If a common person had made the same statement as Maithripala Sirisena, she would have already been arrested, but he is still free”.

Sri Lanka's Catholic leadership has called for an independent investigation into the attack and said the Easter carnage clearly aided former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's victory in the 2019 presidential election.

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