President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s personal defence lawyer as the Cabinet minister of justice could be the final blow for victims of gross human rights violations

The appointment of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s personal defence lawyer as the Cabinet minister of justice could be the final blow for victims of gross human rights violations who have been struggling for justice for over a decade .

Mohamed Ali Sabry with Gotabaya Rajapaksa | File photo

Gotabaya Rajapaksa is at the very least a person of interest in several key cases involving the attacks on journalists Keith Noyahr, Upali Tennakoon and the assassination of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge in 2009.

A suspect arrested in connection with Prageeth Ekneligoda’s abduction and suspected murder has also provided a confession before a magistrate that the journalist had been abducted on the orders of then Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

In each of these cases and multiple cases of corruption filed against the current President, Ali Sabry PC has represented Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the Sri Lankan courts. Most of these cases, including the grave human rights abuses such as disappearances, extra-judicial murder and alleged atrocities committed during the final phase of the war, remain unresolved. As Justice Minister the president’s personal lawyer will now have unprecedented access to the investigation files, investigating officers and will oversee prosecutors at the Attorney General’s Department.
The regime has already launched vicious political witch-hunts against detectives investigating grave human rights violations in order to discredit the probes and taint the officials leading them.

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