Sri Lankan court lifts overseas travel ban on former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa

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Public TV English
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COLOMBO: The overseas travel ban which was imposed on former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa with regard to the May 9, 2022 clashes was lifted by a Sri Lankan court on Wednesday, Lankan news organization News First reported.

Alongside Rajapaksa, the travel ban against MP Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi and ex-provincial Council member Kanchana Jayaratne was entirely lifted by the Fort Magistrate’s Court as well.

The ban was imposed on Rajapaksa and others in view of investigations for their alleged involvement in the deadly attack on peaceful anti-government protesters in Colombo on May 9, 2022.

President’s Counsel Shavendra Fernando asked the court to relax the travel restrictions placed on former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, MP Rohitha Abeygunawardena, minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, and former provincial council member Kanchana Jayaratne, citing the fact that none of them had been listed as suspects in the investigation, News First reported.

After hearing the argument, the magistrate issued an order lifting the travel ban and designated the Controller General of Immigration and Emigration as the recipient of the stated order.

However, the travel ban on two others including MP Milan Jayathilake, the fourth suspect in the case, was extended to the next court date.
The Magistrate further ordered that Hewagamage Manjula, Ramesh Bhanuka, Chamath Thivanka, and Nishantha De Mel, released on bail earlier, be released from the case, as per Sri Lanka-based News First.

The Sri Lankan Supreme Court had earlier issued an interim order that prevented them from leaving the country without the court’s permission until August 11.

A ples was filed in the Supreme Court seeking an overseas travel ban on Mahinda Rajapaksa, Basil Rajapaksa and former Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Colombo Gazette reported.

The plea sought an investigation to be carried out against those individuals who are responsible for Sri Lanka’s economic crisis, in line with a fundamental rights petition filed before the Supreme Court.

On July 22, 2022, a large military group, along with the police, launched a raid near the Presidential Secretariat and the protest site at Galle Face to clear the area of protesters. Several arrests were made.

With many Sri Lankans experiencing extreme shortages of essentials including food and fuel, peaceful protests began in March. The demonstrations led then-Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign on May 9, and his brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, to flee the country on July 13 and resign the following day.

Wickremasinghe became acting president, and parliament elected him as the new president on July 20 with the support of the Rajapaksas’ political party, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna. (ANI)

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