“In the overall context of the current strident emphasis on good governance, I expressed deep regret that I was subjected to this harassment without any semblance of justification,” Prof. Peiris said.
Prof. Peiris in a statement further said:
“The basis of the interrogation to which I was subjected, it appeared, was that I was present at Temple Trees early in the morning of 9th January. One would be hard put to discover anything sinister in this perfectly natural circumstance; I considered it only right and proper for me to be with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, whom I had loyally served for seven years as a senior member of his Cabinet, at a time when support and solidarity were called for. According to my scale of values, this is a basic human obligation.
“I explained to the Police officers who had been sent to interrogate me that, far from any seditious or criminal conspiracy being hatched, no sooner than I entered the former President’s office about 3.30 a.m., I found President Rajapaksa emphatically expressing to all present his wish to hand over power to his duly elected successor even before the formal announcement of the result.
“I also told the officers of the CID that the former President attached particular importance to ensuring that no untoward incidents should be allowed to mar the handing over of power and, to that end, he directed, within my hearing, that the then Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, should be consulted immediately with regard to practical arrangements conducive to a smooth transition. Mr. Wickremesinghe was contacted by telephone and in fact arrived at Temple Trees a short while later for a discussion with President Rajapaksa.
“I made it clear that not one word was uttered in my presence by anyone about a coup d’etat or any other criminal initiative.
“I told my interlocutors that the decision to question me would have been justified only if a statement had been made by anyone present in the room implicating me in any manner or, at the very least, suggesting that a criminal conspiracy against the State had been discussed or referred to in my presence. I asserted my conviction that this could not possibly have happened, because all the persons present at the time are men of integrity, and it is inconceivable that any of them would have made a palpably false and malicious statement.
“I commented on the strange irony inherent in the situation. As the country’s former Minister of External Affairs and, even more so, as a Professor of Law who had guided the footsteps of thousands of students in universities in my own country and abroad (Including the present Prime Minister), introducing them to seminal constitutional values and the received legal culture underpinning them, I am hardly a probable participant in an alleged criminal conspiracy directed against the State.
“In the overall context of the current strident emphasis on good governance, I expressed deep regret that I was subjected to this harassment without any semblance of justification,” he said. (Daily Mirror)