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Activist Nikeshala gets bail in July 9 case

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Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage yesterday (28) ordered that social activist Piyath Nikeshala, who was arrested by the Criminal Investigation

Department for inviting people to riot by releasing a live video on social media, should be released on strict bail. On July 9 last year, he posted this video on social media stating that “the crowd is not enough, come from Flower Road and Fifth Lane” during the burning of then Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe’s private house in Kollupitiya.

The magistrate ordered the release of the suspect Piyath Nikeshala on a cash bail of Rs.25,000 and two personal sureties of Rs. 500,000 each. He ordered that the sureties’ residence certificates be presented and the suspect’s travel abroad be prohibited.

“When the private residence of the President was set on fire, the suspect invited people to come there through a video released on social media. The video says “Come from the Flower Road and come from the Fifth Lane. The Criminal Investigation Department showed the video released by the suspect in open court saying that by inviting people to come from those places, there is a reasonable suspicion that has encouraged illegal rioting.

The counsel representing the suspect informed the court that there was a protest at the time of the incident and the journalists of a private channel were brutally attacked by the police officers.

It was said that the suspect had released the video to inform the people about the situation.

“We arrived in the Criminal Investigation Department when summoned. A 13-minute part of the video was edited and shown. This video was circulated on social media for over a year. At that time, no arrest was made. We are not talking about setting fire to a house.The crowd is asked to come to prevent journalists from being attacked,” the lawyers who appeared for the suspect told court.

Claiming that the release of the video and the burning of the President’s house happened on two occasions, the lawyers argued that their client was not involved in the burning incident. Therefore, they requested that the suspect be released at least on strict bail conditions. The Magistrate said that attacks against journalists are also unacceptable.

The Criminal Investigation Department informed court that that the suspect was summoned to record a statement regarding the live broadcast of the ‘arson incident’ on social media on the 9th of July last year in which present President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s private residence at Fifth Lane, Colpetty was set ablaze.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023 – 01:06

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