A Catholic priest in Sri Lanka stood by his statement last month questioning the government’s investigation into the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks that killed at least 260 people and injured over 500 others.
Father Cyril Gamini Fernando appeared before the country’s Criminal Investigations Department on November 15 to answer a complaint made by Major General Suresh Sallay, director of the State Intelligence Service.
The military official lodged the complaint against Father Gamini over a number of allegations purportedly made by the priest in connection with the Easter Sunday bombings on three churches, four hotels, and one housing complex.
On October 23, Father Gamini has reportedly said that Sri Lankan intelligence units provided financial and other vital assistance to the leader of the National Thowheed Jamath, Saharan Hashim, who allegedly led the attacks.
“Everything I said at the online forum has been mentioned in the final report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry and the report of the Parliament Select Committee,” said the priest of the Archdiocese of Colombo.
He said both reports have been made public by the government investigative bodies.
An investigation done under the administration of former president Maithripala Sirisena released a report that said the president and other top defense officials ignored prior intelligence about the attack.
The investigative panel recommended criminal action against the officials.
Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo has been pushing for Sri Lankan authorities to be held responsible for failing to prevent the bombings.
In October 2020, five of seven suspects arrested in connection with the attacks were released by the government because of lack of evidence.
The cardinal, however, has repeatedly said security officials had confirmed to him that there was sufficient evidence against many of the suspects who had been arrested.
The cardinal, along with friends and family of the victims, have said they fear the release of the suspects meant corruption, or a lack of a thorough investigation, on the part of the Sri Lankan Criminal Investigation Department.