Rishad Bathiudeen Says He Never Exerted Pressure On Army Commander To Release Terror Suspects: "I Was Simply Looking For A Missing Person"

ACMC Leader Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said he never exerted pressure on Army Commander Mahesh Senanayake to release suspects who were arrested in connection with the Easter Sunday attacks.

Bathiudeen, while speaking in Parliament, responded to the Army Commander's statement that the ACMC leader contacted him thrice about a suspect who was arrested from Dematagoda.

"I never pressured the Army Commander either. The Advisor to Muslim Affairs Ministry Mr Jainudeen called me and complained to me an unidentified group of people visited his home, and nabbed his son. For two days I was visiting Police stations-even Dehiwela Police station-without any success. The Police stations said there was no one like that under them. They advised me to speak to the Military forces to continue my search," Bathiudeen said, explaining the circumstances under which he contacted the Army Commander.

"Then I contacted State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene who advised me to contact the Army Commander to see if the missing person was with the Army. I was doing this ‘missing person search’ on a humanitarian grounds. I then contacted the Commander and only asked him if this person was with the Army. I did not pressurise the Commander and never asked the Commander to release any individual either. Therefore the accusation that I pressurised the Commander utterly false. I wish to ask this House and people of Sri Lanka -Is it wrong to inquire about another politician’s missing family member if the family contacts you and ask you to help them to locate their missing person from Police stations and the Army?” he asked.

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