Not aware that Zahran was a government spy - Former President
Former President Maithripala Sirisena stated that he was unaware that National Thawheed Jamaath leader Zahran Hasheem was being used as a government spy during his tenure.
The former President was testifying before the Presidential Commission Inquiry to probe into the Easter Sunday Attack on Wednesday (14).
The Additional Solicitor General questioned former President Maithripala Sirisena about the alleged use of the National Thawheed Jamaath leader Zahran Hasheem as a government spy during his tenure.
The Additional Solicitor General further asked former President whether former Western Province Governor Azath Salley had complained to him about Zahran’ activities.Replying to that, the former President stated that Azath Salley had informed him about it.
Referring to a statement given by Azath Salley before the Commission, the Additional Solicitor General questioned whether Azath Salley had lodged complaints about Zahran on several occasions. Responding to that,the witness said Salley had informed him about it on several occasions and he had informed this to relevant authorities to take necessary action on this. “Accordingly, I discussed this matter at the National Security Council (NSC) meetings.
The Additional Solicitor General asked the former President if necessary action had been taken, would there have been a need to complain regarding Zahran Hasheem’s activities on several occasions?”
“There were differences between the various organizations in the Muslim community. If they had not taken necessary steps as we have said, it would be a breach of responsibility by the responsible security forces,”former President replied.
The Additional Solicitor General also inquired from the former President whether he can remember that he had spoken with somebody on the phone on a occasion that Azath Salley had complaint about Zahran. In reply, the former President stated that he did not remember such an incident.
“If Azath Salley had told before the Commission that he felt that Zahran Hasheem had been used as a government spy based on what you have said on the phone? What do you think about it?”, the Additional Solicitor General questioned. Replying to that, former President Maithripala Sirisena pointed out that he was not aware that Zahran Hasheem was being used as a government spy during his tenure.
President’s Counsel Maithri Gunarathne on behalf of the former President informed the Commission that it was unfair to ask such questions from the former President. The Additional Solicitor General informed the Commission that the question was asked from former President because some of the evidence given by the Azath Salley mentioned about the former president.