Sri Lanka court bans former PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, allies from leaving country

The magistrate in capital Colombo ordered police to investigate mob attacks on May 9 on peaceful protesters, which led to retaliatory violence that claimed nine lives

Updated - May 12, 2022 10:37 pm IST

Published - May 12, 2022 02:47 pm IST - COLOMBO:

Former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. File.

Former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. File. | Photo Credit: Reuters

A Sri Lankan court on May 12 banned former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, his politician son Namal and 15 allies from leaving the country over violence against anti-government demonstrators.

The magistrate in capital Colombo ordered police to investigate mob attacks on May 9 on peaceful protesters, which led to retaliatory violence that claimed nine lives and caused widespread destruction.

A petition to the court had also asked for an arrest warrant against Mr. Rajapaksa and his associates, a court official told AFP.

“But the magistrate turned it down because police anyway have powers to detain any suspect,” the official added.

Victims of Monday’s violence say that Mr. Rajapaksa and key aides had bussed around 3,000 of their supporters into the capital and instigated them to attack peaceful protesters.

The loyalist mob poured out of his residence and assaulted anti-government demonstrators with sticks and clubs.

Buddhist monks and Catholic priests were among at least 225 people hospitalised after the attack .Reprisals soon spread across the country, with dozens of homes of Rajapaksa loyalists set ablaze.

Supporters of Mahinda Rajapaksa destroy tents belonging to anti-government demonstrators, during a clash between the two groups, in front of the Prime Minister’s official residence. File.

Supporters of Mahinda Rajapaksa destroy tents belonging to anti-government demonstrators, during a clash between the two groups, in front of the Prime Minister’s official residence. File. | Photo Credit: Reuters

The premier resigned and had to be evacuated from his home by heavily armed troops.

The 76-year-old former leader is currently holed up at a naval facility in the east of the island nation. His former minister son Namal told AFP on May 10 that the family had no intention of leaving the country.

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