Explained: Social Media Campaign About Links Between Eran Wickramaratne and Zaharan Hashim’s Wife.

Explainer Political

Many ministers and high-ranking officials who were in power at the time of the Easter Sunday bombings in 2019 are being questioned as the investigation into the terrorist attack progresses.

MP Eran Wickramaratne was also summoned for interrogation recently over a statement he had made questioning the security of key witnesses. After which social media circles were flooded with claims linking Mr. Wickremaratne and wife of the mastermind behind Easter Sunday attacks, Zaharan Hashim had emerged. 

However, MP Eran Wickramaratne stated that all the allegations made regarding his connection to Zaharan’s wife were baseless and a formal complaint has been lodged with the CID in this regard. CID has not yet commented on these claims.

SOCIAL MEDIA REPORTS:

Social media was abuzz with reports claiming Eran Wickramaratne has admitted to CID officials that he had given 5mn Rupees to the Easter bombing mastermind, Zaharan’s wife. “Eran Wickramaratne admits to CID officials that he gave Rs. 5 million to Zaharan’s wife” said many social media posts that went viral recently. 

Facebook PostArchived
Facebook PostArchived

We found several other posts shared on social media in this regard as seen below:

A few days ago, just after Eran Wickremaratne was questioned by the CID, several posts were exchanged claiming that: “Eran Wickramaratne summoned to CID for questioning over an illicit affair with Zaharan’s wife” as can be seen below:

MP’s Response

We began our fact check by first visiting MP Eran Wickramaratne’s official social media channels. On his official Facebook page, we noted that two statements had been published in Sinhala and English, strongly denying any exchange of money between himself and Zaharan’s wife in response to the viral online chatter on the topic. 

He further went on to stress that fake news claiming that he paid Zaharan’s wife was done in an attempt to discredit his own fight for justice and stressed that he had never met with, seen or paid money to Zaharan’s wife. His statement can be seen below: 

C:\Users\Prabuddha Athukorala\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\screenshot-www.facebook.com-2020.11.23-12_26_42-2.png
Sinhala LetterArchivedEnglish LetterArchived

The following audio statement was also made by MP Eran Wickremaratne regarding allegations leveled against him as published on newshub.lk 

We also contacted Mr. Wickremaratne’s media unit in order to inquire further into the matter. We were informed that a complaint had been lodged with the CID on Saturday (21) regarding these baseless allegations against him and further stressed to us that these claims were completely false.

We also noted that several mainstream media outlets had carried the story:

The Morning | Archived

It should be noted that investigations into the Easter attack are currently ongoing. We tried to contact the CID regarding the allegations leveled against Eran Wickramaratne. However, we did not receive a response from the CID yet and once there is an official response, this article will be updated. 

Media briefing about Witness Protection:

At a recent media briefing, Mr. Wickremaratne inquired into the protection and safety of key witnesses being taken into custody such as Zaharan Hasheem’s wife and Shani Abeysekera, the previous head of the CID. Media reported that, taking this publicly made statement into consideration, Eran Wickremaratne was questioned by the CID for over 4 hours. FT | Archived

At a press conference held at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition on 12th of November, Eran Wickremaratne spoke on the topic of witness protection citing the example of Maakandure Madush being killed. He stressed that such criminals should be punished within the legal framework and his statement can be viewed here: 

In Summary, we can say that…

The social media posts alleging MP Wickremaratne’s involvement with Zahran Hasheem’s wife are speculative and not supported by any strong evidence. MP Eran Wickremaratne has strongly denied the allegations made on social media claiming that he had admitted to the CID of paying Zaharan Hashim’s wife Rs. 5 million. Eran Wickramaratne has also lodged a complaint with the CID against these allegations. The CID has not yet released an official statement on this matter.

Avatar

Title:Social Media Campaign About Links Between Eran Wickramaratne and Zaharan Hashim’s Wife.

Fact Check By: Shanaya Seneviratne 

Result: Explainer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *