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Easter Sunday Genocide: RTI Commission reprimands Parliament officials for producing false information

Colombo (LNW): The Right to Information (RTI) Commission yesterday (05) reprimanded Parliament officials for withholding information pertaining to the report issued by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) on the Easter Sunday massacre, calling it ‘a punishable offence.’

This declaration was made by a four-member bench of the Commission which concluded a seven-month long hearing of a RTI appeal against the Parliament of Sri Lanka on the allegation of not releasing sections of the PCoI report containing evidence recorded from the wife of the Easter attack bomber Zahran Hashim and several top Police and Military intelligence officials to the public.

Journalist Tharindu Jayawardena on behalf of the Centre for Society and Religion (CSR) lodging a RTI application with Parliament demanded that the copies of the evidence produced by Hashim’s wife Abdul Cader Fatima Hadiya, ex SDIG of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Ravi Seneviratne, ex CID Director Shani Abeysekara, DIG Nalaka Silva, SDIG Nilantha Jayawardena, ex Director of Military Intelligence Chula Kodituwakku, Naufer Moulavi and Gaphoor Mama pertaining to the probe on the Easter Sunday massacre be released.

However, Parliament had initially declined the above appeal, stating that such information was not in its possession. Later, the attorney representing the appellant had submitted facts to the RTI Commission confirming that these information are, in fact, possessed by Parliament, and the latter made rather a contradictory statement suggesting that releasing such information could violate the Parliamentary Privileges Act.

The Commission observed that it would be an offence punishable by law to produce false information pertaining to the matter, and informed Parliament to make its final written submissions by August 04, 2023 and the appellant to make its final submissions by August 18, 2023.

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