Hope against hope: Justice for Thajudeen | Sunday Observer

Hope against hope: Justice for Thajudeen

Former Judicial Medical Officer Ananda Samarasekera
Former Judicial Medical Officer Ananda Samarasekera

A Magistrate has issued notice on professor Ananda Samarasekera, the former Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) for Colombo to appear in court on August 28. The former JMO is facing charges of falsifying the post-mortem report and destroying evidence linked to the Wasim Thajudeen murder in May 2012.

Last week, the AG also ordered the CID to expedite investigations into several emblematic cases, including the Lasantha Wickrematunge assassination, the Thajudeen murder and several others.

For a family still grieving the loss of a brother and a son, the AG’s directive is just another promise of justice for a family that has been waiting seven long years for justice.

“This is not new to us. It is also not the first time they have expedited the case and it is not something that will make us feel good that something is going to happen,” Ayesha said during a phone interview with the Sunday Observer.

Twenty-eight-year-old Wasim Thajudeen’s body was recovered lying on the passenger seat of his charred car near Shalika Grounds in Narahenpita on May 17, 2012. Initially the death was treated as a motor traffic accident. Once the CID reopened the case in 2015, new evidence surfaced, following the exhumation of his body. Months later, the court ruled his death a murder.

Till 2015, Ayesha was the only witness to Wasim’s body after his death. But with the then-fresh revelations his grieving parents got to know the extent of the pain he underwent prior to his death. With this they were catapulted into a different but much more intense type of grief. It also left the family with many unanswered questions.

“One question that hurt us the most is why he was made to go through such a brutal death. What did Wasim do to deserve such an end,” Ayesha asked, adding that her parents have not yet recovered from the pain. On that ill-fated day, Wasim had left his house promising his ‘Amma’ he will be back at home by 12.00am.

This was also the exact time he would have reached home if he lived. His Amma always stayed up for Wasim to open the door when he returned. That day he did not.

The post-mortem that was carried out following the exhumation of Wasim’s body in 2015 and the report by an expert board comprising Colombo Chief JMO Ajith Tennakoon, Specialist Dr. Jean Perera and Additional JMO S.G.A. Hewage revealed that Wasim succumbed to injuries during a brutal assault. The rugby player had multiple injuries on his legs, chest area and neck.

It also contradicted the original findings by former Judicial Medical Officer Ananda Samarasekera who claimed the victim died of carbon monoxide poisoning. The second post-mortem found that the amount of carbon monoxide present in the former ruggerite’s body showed that he had died just before or only moments after the car began to burn.

The Colombo High Court, in June this year, served an indictment on former Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police Anura Senanayake for allegedly covering up evidence in connection with Wasim’s death.

“What is the point of indicting people who tried to cover up evidence? Why can’t we get to the bottom and catch the real people behind this murder?” asked the family’s lawyer A. S. M. Misbah. His main concern is how former JMO Samarasekera has escaped any legal action thus far.

A CID report gathered evidence from two subordinates of Samarasekera who revealed he exerted pressure on them to write Wasim’s post-mortem report the way he wanted.

“This is enough evidence to hold him accountable but he was allowed to go free,” Misbah said.

Last Friday (16), Colombo High Court judge Manjula Thilakaratne ordered Samarasekera to appear before the court on 28 this month for his alleged involvement in concealing evidence related to the case.

“I strongly believe that this case will be solved as soon as action is taken against him. He is one of the main links that will lead to the truth,” the attorney-at-law stressed. Ayesha knows there is enough evidence to charge her brother’s murderers if the Government really wants to. “I think the real story has already been unveiled. It is just that they have to put the pieces together and put it in a way that you can seek justice in a court of law,” she added.

It is Ayesha’s belief that the latest move to expedite Wasim’s case is for political advantage because ‘the government has no other way’.

But she says Wasim Thajudeen’s family remains willing to cooperate with the investigation and the case whenever the need arises, in the hope against hope that justice will one day be served.