Sri Lanka drops charges against an admiral in connection with the killings.
Sri Lankan authorities have dismissed charges against a former navy chief tied to 11 killings that received international outrage, including conspiracy to murder, the country’s attorney general revealed Wednesday.
The prosecution against Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda was part of a larger probe into extrajudicial killings committed during Sri Lanka’s 37-year ethnic conflict, which ended in 2009.
The state will not prosecute charges against Karannagoda, who was first indicted in 2019. Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam told the Court of Appeal that the state will not pursue charges against him.
A court official told AFP that Karannagoda, one of 14 persons accused of kidnapping wealthy families’ teenage children in 2008 and 2009 and killing them after extorting money, will be released soon.
Karannagoda was charged with four counts, including murder conspiracy, which carries the death penalty.
Amnesty International, a human rights organization, has demanded Sri Lankan authorities to explain why the case was withdrawn.
The 11 adolescents’ deaths have been brought to the attention of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which has asked for independent investigations into atrocities committed during the separatist war.
Although their remains have never been located, police told a court in 2019 that the 11 victims were slain while in the navy’s illegal custody.
The true number of victims of the abductions and murders, according to investigators, is at least three times greater.
The victims were not affiliated to ethnic Tamil separatist fighters, according to police, and were abducted solely to extort money from their relatives. Even after money was given over, some people were killed.
During the war, military figures have been extensively accused of extrajudicial killings.
According to rights groups, the final days of the offensive against the Tamils were marred by horrific violations. 40,000 civilians may have been killed in the closing days of the battle, according to a UN commission.