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Story of Sunil Ratnayaka given death penalty being set free from presidential pardon


Story of Sunil Ratnayaka given death penalty being set free from presidential pardon

News that army sergeant Sunil Ratnayaka sentenced to death being set free on orders of president Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday as published in social media has so far not being confirmed. However posts are seen to the effect that he has been released and that the president has looked into army soldiers. 

What the president has told on several occasions in his propaganda speeches was that he would
release soldiers subjected to injustice within two days of coming into power by releasing them. When considering such facts, it is sergeant Sunil Ratnayaka who heads the list being accused of having murdered 8 persons. What has come to be known as Mirusuvil mass murder is the incident sergeant Sunil has been accused of. It incidentally is an incident of a mass murder where eight Sri Lankan Tamils inclusive of children were put to death on December 20th in the year 2000 during the war-torn days. 

When matters were explained in court from Sunil Ratayaka's party that members of the Tiger movement who arrived with the motive of launching an attack, they were thus murdered, on the other hand allegations of the other party was that eight unarmed refugees who were displaced came to Mirusuvil area close to Jaffna with the intention of inspecting their property were taken into custody and subjected to mass murder the very next day. It was found that a mass burial had taken place at a place 16 miles east of Jaffna town by a group of soldiers. It was further mentioned in court that the group of refugees who had once again arrived from Udupidi area to Mirusuvil on December 19th to search for their house and to collect firewood were taken into custody by supposed personnel of the army and that those people had secured permission from provincial authorities to inspect their old property. 

According to evidence given by district medical officer C. Kadirvetpillai the throats of the victims have been slashed. Among the dead were three young persons and a five year old child. After attention was focused on this incident when a person with severe injuries supposed to have deserted from army custody had brought this to the notice to the relatives concerned. Under these circumstances finally the soldiers were taken into custody by Sri Lankan government under charges of arresting illegally, harassing, murdering and for burying their dead bodies in a mass burial ground. 

Initially 14 soldiers were arrested and after they were produced before magistrate of Chavakachcheri, Jaffna they were sent to remand custody. Though 9 of the 14 so arrested were released from all charges, action was filed against five of them by attorney general in the incident. Subsequently inquiries over the case was transferred to Anuradhapura magistrate court. In the year 2002 the case was referred to Colombo high court and it was heard right throughout 13 years and ultimately army sergeant Sunil Ratnayaka was found guilty of 15 charges relating to the incident of killing eight civilians at Mirusuvil, Jaffna and given the death penalty. The four soldiers who were arrested were set free because of lack of evidence levelled against them. 

The party who were angered by the court verdict had said that while the soldiers who carried out their duties in rescuing the country with dedication should be protected, the government on the other hand has pushed them instead to gallows. But this case which was heard through various governments was in fact not a case filed on the necessity of one particular government as such. 

The prejudiced party then took action to solicit support of the law across the EPDP, a Tamil political organisation. The said organisation has acted in agreement with Podu Jana Peramuna which incidentally was in power at the time the aforesaid incident involving the army took place and also with United National Party which later held power too. 

Some people interpreted the court judgement which kept dragging on for 13 years was a court judgement given on advice of the government on the necessity of Tamil diaspora. Some others adorned the photo of their facebook accounts with the figure of an army soldier subjected to death sentence ... thus bestowing heroism on him. Some others not knowing what he had done have proceeded to share the posts. 

As a result of this incident Sunil Ratnayaka so given the death penalty being confined to four walls of Welikada prison and living helplessly and that his child and wife need consolation was what was highlighted by 'Ranaviruwan surekeeme sanwidhanaya'.



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