Sri Lanka drops charges against ex-naval chief over 11 murders | Military news

Probe against Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda was part of a case that threw spotlights on extrajudicial killings during the nation’s 37-year ethnic war.

Sri Lankan authorities have suspended charges, including conspiracy to assassinate, of a former naval chief linked to 11 murders that caused international condemnation, the country’s prosecutors said.

The investigation against Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda was part of a case that threw headlights on extrajudicial killings during Sri Lanka’s 37-year ethnic war that ended in 2009.

Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam on Wednesday announced the Court of Appeal that the state will not pursue charges against Karannagoda, who was first indicted in 2019.

A court official told the AFP news agency that a lower court would soon apply for Karannagoda, one of 14 people accused of kidnapping teenage children from wealthy families in 2008 and 2009 and killing them after extorting money.

Four charges had been filed against him, including conspiracy to commit murder, which carries the death penalty.

The rights guard Amnesty International called on the Sri Lankan authorities to explain why they closed the case.

The killings of the 11 young people were brought to the attention of the UN Human Rights Council, which called for independent investigations into atrocities during the separatist war.

Police told a court in 2019 that the 11 victims were killed while illegally detained by the navy, although their bodies have never been found.

Investigators believe that the actual number of victims of abductions and murders is at least three times higher.

Police said the victims were not linked to ethnic Tamil separatist rebels and were kidnapped solely to extort money from families. Some were killed even after cash was handed over.

Military personnel have been widely accused of extrajudicial killings during the war.

The last days of the offensive against the Tamils ​​were marked by serious abuses, according to rights groups.

A UN panel has said that 40,000 civilians may have been killed in the final stages of the conflict.


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