Newspaper reports published in the 'Sunday Aruna' and 'Sunday Lankadeepa' in connection with the arrest of Riyaj Bathiudeen, brother of former minister Rishad Bathiudeen by
associating him with the Easter attacks last year are completely false and malicious, Riyaj Bathiudeen's wife Fathima Israth Bathiudeen said.

Fathima Bathiudeen had made a complaint to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka yesterday (19) noting that the articles are "malignant and inflammatory and were likely to have been written with ill-will which is evident from the manner in which it was published without verity or clarity as to its fact."

She further stated that there were no records of any member of the Police force or the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) issuing any statement to the effect of validating any connection between Zahran Hashim and her husband, Riyaj Bathiudeen. 
 
Lankadeepa 2020.04.19

The newspapers had also quoted in their articles that Riyaj Bathiudeen was arrested by the security forces of the Northern Province in respect of the Easter Sunday attacks and was thereafter freed. 

"This is a blatant lie and a distortion of facts, as my husband who is currently in remand, was never arrested nor interrogated prior to his present predicament in respect of this case," Fathima Bathiudeen said.
 
"I am of the opinion, that such a manipulation of facts is aimed at tainting and tarnishing the image of former Minister, Rishad Bathiudeen, who happens to be the brother of my husband. This is irresponsible reporting, pushed by malice and sinister motive to mislead the readers by fanning the flames of hatred," she added.


Full text of the letter sent by Fathima Israth Bathiudeen is reproduced below.
 
 
No.111, 10th Lane,

Marikkar Street,

Puttalam

19.04.2020

 

Dr. Deepika Udagama
Chairperson
Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission
No. 15, R. A. De Mel Mawatha
Colombo- 04

Dear Chairperson and Commissioners,

Today, the ‘Aruna’ and ‘Lankadeepa’ newspapers had published a malicious article aiming to tarnish the good repute of my husband, Riyaj Bathiudeen, by associating him with the Easter attacks last year.

The article is malignant and inflammatory and was likely to have been written with ill-will which is evident from the manner in which it was published without verity or clarity as to its facts. In particular, I wish to highlight that the purported association between the mastermind of the Easter Attacks, Zahran Hashim and my husband are completely false, unsubstantiated and spiteful.

There is no record of any member of the Police force or TID issuing any statement to the effect of validating any connection between Zahran Hashim and my husband, Riyaj Bathiudeen. The arrest was made on the grounds of a phone conversation between him and Inshaf Ibrahim. Although Inshaf Ibrahim was identified as a suicide bomber, he was also a businessman. He was the son of a wealthy and prominent Businessman, Mohamed Ibrahim, and he was married to the daughter of another prominent businessman who was a native of my husband’s hometown, Mannar

My husband, who is now in remand, is also a businessman and a tax payer who has never defaulted in his tax payments. In Sri Lanka, any person has the right to engage in business legally and my husband has always engaged in lawful business and was unsuspicious of the activities of Inshaf. In the aftermath of the Easter attacks, the media had made it clear that even the wife and father of Inshaf Ibrahim knew nothing of his plans of engaging in terrorist activity.

The Sunday newspapers had quoted in their articles that Riyaj Bathiudeen was arrested by the security forces of the Northern Province in respect of the Easter Sunday attacks and was thereafter freed. This is a blatant lie and a distortion of facts, as my husband who is currently in remand, was never arrested nor interrogated prior to his present predicament in respect of this case. I am of the opinion, that such a manipulation of facts is aimed at tainting and tarnishing the image of former Minister, Rishad Bathiudeen, who happens to be the brother of my husband. This is irresponsible reporting, pushed by malice and sinister motive to mislead the readers by fanning the flames of hatred.

This media campaign is evidently directed at former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen with intent to frame him for the Easter Sunday attacks. Soon after the Easter attacks, it was increasingly apparent that Mr, Bathiudeen was being targeted and framed by certain political entities and media institutions. They distorted facts and purposefully enticed the general public into acting shamefully in order to achieve their political ambitions.

As a prominent businessman, it was normal for my husband to have business related conversations with individuals, and the investigating officers have every right to verify the contents of the call. There is no doubt in that. However, the media is duty bound to act with conscience and be careful not to disseminate misleading information, particularly if they are to incriminate an individual even prior to any verdict by a Court of Law. Such media dispensed verdicts are a disgrace to the judiciary. Such misrepresentations and unfounded conclusions are also contrary to media ethics and practices.

It must be noted that seven (07) persons had been arrested on the same day along with my husband in respect of the investigations, however, only the name of my husband was emphasized. The reason for this is without doubt the fact that his brother is a renowned political name and a former Minister of the Cabinet. Whilst certain segments of the media have carried out misinformation campaigns, it must be understood that it could also lead to several misinterpretations even before the investigation has concluded. Such insidious and corruptive journalists ought to be questioned and brought to book. It has caused tremendous pain of mind to my 10 year old son and myself. It is a violation of my fundamental rights and the rights of my family.

Yours Sincerely,

Mohamed Nisar Fathima Israth
 
Human Rights Commision 850x460 acf cropped
 
The untold story behind Police spokesperson's statement - Who did Mohammed Alawdeen back in the last election?
 
Police spokesperson SP Jaliya Senaratne at a press conference held last Wednesday (15) said that investigations had revealed a direct connection between Riyaj Bathiudeen and a Easter Sunday bomber. 

According to reports reaching theleader.lk, the accusation levelled against Riyaj Bathiudeen is with regard to a phone conversation he had with Insaf Ibrahim, the suicide bomber responsible for the Shangri-La Hotel attack.
 
Mohammed Alawdeen, owner of Alawdeen Jewellers and the father-in-law of the Shangri-La suicide bomber Insaf Ibrahim, was a leading member of Rishad Bathiudeen's party. However, he had left Rishad's party and had openly supported the presidential campaign of Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Alawdeen's only daughter, Fathima Ilham was married to Mohammed Ibrahim Ilham Ahmed.

However, after the Easter Sunday attacks, Wimal Weerawansa caused a huge commotion by claiming that Mohammed Alawdeen was a member of Rishad Bathiudeen's party. It was also included as one of the charges against the no confidence motion brought against then minister Rishad Bathiudeen.