‘Will I still be alive for the next hearing?’

By Chitra Weerarathne and Shamindra Ferdinando

Hiru’s anchor, Chamuditha Samarawickrema, said that despite a directive issued by the Magistrate of Kesbewa to the Witness Protection Division of the police to ensure his safety, law enforcement authorities hadn’t done it yet.

Former director of President Maithripala Sirisena’s media unit, Samarawickrema, said yesterday (22) that he had not received personal protection, regardless of the court directive issued on February 18 following of Kuvera de Zoysa, PC, moving court for an attack on his house at Gangarama Road, Wewala, Piliyandala in the early hours of February 14.

Samarawickrema said his life and that of his wife and 14-year-old daughter were in danger as those who carried out the attack and the mastermind behind it remained at large more than a week after the incident .

Samarawickrema said CCTV footage made available to police by him and those who lived along the road revealed that the intruders who arrived at the housing estate included at least five people. The driver of the vehicle captured on CCTV was among them, Samarawickrema said.

When The Island pointed out that police headquarters announced at around 10 p.m. Monday evening that proper security had been provided in the housing scheme area after IGP CD Wickremaratne received the court directive, Samarawickrema handed over questioned the rationale for deploying police to the housing program area instead of the targeted house.

The police headquarters said that after receiving the decision from the court, steps were taken to forward it to the Witness Protection Authority through the Secretary of the Ministry of Public Security in order to obtain guidelines and advice. Pending specific instructions from the authority, the Western Province DIG official has been instructed to provide “appropriate” security, police headquarters said.

Samarawickrema said officials forgot he was under threat. Samarawickrema said that maybe by the time the case is resumed on March 25, he won’t be alive to continue the fight.

Appreciating the concerns expressed by journalists’ organizations here and abroad, Samarawickrema urged the government to apprehend those responsible without further delay.

Kuvera de Zoysa, the president’s lawyer appeared with Henry Newman, Pasindu Bandara and Devika Kottegoda for Samarawickrema.

Samarawickremema said the Witness Protection Division recorded his statement at his home on Monday afternoon.