The investigation against Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda was part of a case that shed light on extrajudicial killings during the 37-year ethnic war in the country.
Sri Lankan authorities have dropped charges, including conspiracy to murder, against a former naval chief linked to 11 murders that have drawn international condemnation, the country’s attorney general said.
The investigation against Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda was part of a case that shed light on extrajudicial killings during Sri Lanka’s 37-year ethnic war that ended in 2009.
Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam told the Court of Appeals on Wednesday that the state would not continue to prosecute Karannagoda, who was first indicted in 2019.
A court official told AFP news agency that a lower court will soon release Karannagoda, who is one of 14 people accused of abducting teenage children from wealthy families in 2008 and 2009 and having them. killed after extorting money.
Four charges had been brought against him, including that of conspiracy to murder, punishable by death.
Rights watchdog Amnesty International has urged the Sri Lankan authorities to explain why they have dropped the case.
The murder of the 11 young people was brought up to the UN Human Rights Council, which called for independent inquiries into the atrocities committed during the separatist war.
Police told a court in 2019 that the 11 victims were killed while illegally detained by the navy, although their bodies were never found.
Investigators estimate that the actual number of victims of kidnappings and murders is at least three times higher.
Police said the victims were not linked to separatist Tamil rebels and were kidnapped only to extort money from families. Some were killed even after the money was handed over.
Military figures have been widely accused of extrajudicial killings during the war.
The final days of the offensive against the Tamils were marked by serious abuses, according to rights groups.
A UN panel said 40,000 civilians may have been killed in the later stages of the conflict.