No one can say for sure whether Mohamed Kamer Nizamdeen arrested by the Australian Police three weeks ago of secretly plotting to kill Aussie politicians and bomb Aussie hot spots was a lone wolf, a closeted Muslim fanatic who clothed his dark secret of being a terror merchant in burka and instead pretended to be [...]


Dusk vigil to pray for justice for Kamer


No one can say for sure whether Mohamed Kamer Nizamdeen arrested by the Australian Police three weeks ago of secretly plotting to kill Aussie politicians and bomb Aussie hot spots was a lone wolf, a closeted Muslim fanatic who clothed his dark secret of being a terror merchant in burka and instead pretended to be a dissipate playboy who had squandered the dictates of the Holy Quran, sacrificed his reward of thirteen virgins in heaven, in return for the earthy bliss of wine, women and song.

The ideal cover for one who wants the world to think he is not what he truly is.

But whilst his family and friends rushed to use his partying, socialising, drinking, man about town image and lifestyle as a defence to the charge of him being a radicalised Ayatollah down under in Australia; whilst his former principal at Asian International School Goolbai Gunasekera dipped her nib in pink ink to describe him as one of her fondest pupils who sat in the lap of her Academia for  two years after frog hopping from S. Thomas Prep to S. Thomas Mount to do his London ALs in her dormitory, and lavished praise on him stating “His unfailing courtesy to teachers and to his classmates was noticed from the start. Teachers who taught him were always full of praise for his work ethic and his general thorough approach to studies,” adding that it was impossible to accept this young boy was ‘radicalised’, the sort  of schoolboy saint who’ll never even dream of harming  an innocent fly; the Aussie police thought otherwise.

INDEPENDENCE SQUARE PROTEST: Kamer sympathizers stage vigil to plead an expeditious investigation

They branded him a terrorist. And held the supposed scribbles he is alleged to have made in a notebook as the damning evidence to throw him to an Aussie jail and keep him incarcerated till Aussie justice plodded on in the same casual manner Aussie life does down at the Billabong singing Waltzing Matilda, to determine whether the young man, who was working as an IT contractor at the University of New South Wales, was guilty of the charges leveled against him.

It all began on August 30 when in a sudden swoop, the Aussie police arrested Kamer, the 25-year-old nephew of Lankan Minister Faiszer Musthapha’s wife, at his Sydney flat.

The charge sheet read: ‘collecting or making a document which is connected with preparation for, the engagement of a person in, or assistance in a terrorist act.’

And what was the evidence: A notebook allegedly recovered by one of Kamer’s colleagues. According to Australian Police, the notebook allegedly contained a list of “symbolic” locations in Sydney, as well as names of prominent individuals to be targeted in an alleged terror plot. After having deduced from this questionable documentation that Kamer must be a card carrying member of the dreaded ISIS, the Aussie Police told court they believed Kamer was affiliated to the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group and thus  should be locked up.  According to Aussie cops, his notebook contained details of potential terror attacks on certain places and individuals. The book is now being analysed by Aussie psychologists and investigators. Upon receiving information of the notebook from a university employee the Police acted swiftly to arrest Kamer, the Australian media reported. It was on this basis that the police made their request to the court to detain him further.

KAMER: 25-year-old Lankan’s innocence on trial

And an obliging judge of Oz answered the police 991 call and sentenced Kamer to remand prison till the 24th of October when he’ll be hauled  before Ozzie court for it to determine whether he should be remanded further till Aussie cops continue their investigation to gather sufficient evidence to prove whether Kamer is indeed the one man Rambo terror squad set to terrorise the Aussie streets as they, with their August 30th, arrest, painted him out to be.

Of course, the Australian High Commission, which holds the glib view that all convicts – and now suspected terrorists – seek the Sydney sunshine as their ancestors were once forced to do by the British as an easy, convenient method of easing congestion in British jails — as Dickens has vividly described in his novels David Copperfield  and Great Expectations — say that the “a 25-year-old Sri Lankan national has been charged under section 101.5 of Australia’s Criminal Code Act 1995, with collecting or making a document which is connected with preparation for, the engagement of a person in, or assistance in a terrorist act.

In response to questions posed by the Sunday Times, the Aussie High Commission said the maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for 15 years. And added: “Australia’s Crimes Act 1914 sets out a range of safeguards to protect the rights of a person who has been arrested for a Commonwealth offence including a terrorism offence. These safeguards include the right to communicate with a friend or relative, and a legal practitioner of the person’s choice. If the person is not an Australian citizen, they are afforded the right to communicate with the Consular office of the country of which the person is a citizen, before questioning commences”.

And to make absolutely clear to Lankan minds that the Wizards of Oz were far above when it came to matters of judicial independence, the Australian High Commission couldn’t held but condescendingly declare to native dullards that “In Australia’s justice system, the charges against a person are tested in a court of law by an independent judiciary and the prosecution bears the onus of proving the offence beyond reasonable doubt.”

But the question is whether Kamer  was afforded the same rights available to an Australian citizen the ‘the right to communicate with a friend or relative, and a legal practitioner of the person’s choice’ or only the right a second class student visitor to this dingo land down under to only have access to the Lankan consulate office in Australia, which, as President Sirisena found to his frustration when he called the Austrian consulate last week and received no answer to his  rings on six lines, may well fail to answer the SOS from a Lankan student in distress.

Apparently not. According to family, friends and legal advisers in Colombo, Kamer was denied natural justice the civilised world knows of, pays obeisance to and takes cognizance of. The story that initially rose from down under dregs was this:

  • He was denied access to a lawyer – which the Australian High Commission told the Sunday Times two weeks ago – the right of any person  accused and arrested to have the right to communicate with his or her legal practitioner of his or her choice’.
  • He was denied the supposed Aussie safeguard to communicate with a friend or relative, denied even the chance to meet a representative of the Lankan consulate.

Instead he was sent to solitary confinement, cut out from the world, denied legal counsel, bereft of family and friends’ comfort, left in some dinghy Australian dingo den to wait justice to unlock his prison padlock, if it ever came.

If that is still the jurisprudence of the Australian legal system and the cavalier way in which they practise and treat a human being of whatever origin whilst preaching the moral word to the world, no wonder the British kicked their ancestors out two hundred years ago and cast to the waters the foul jetsam to drift furthermost from the western hemisphere, and thus help keep their sceptred isle pristine without the dregs, the flotsam set adrift from drifting back.

Now, however, an aunt of Kamer has come forward to state, “I was told that he had refused any legal representation at the time of his arrest, since he was under the impression that he could give them a statement and leave. He had nothing to hide.” She also added: “He has everything to lose and nothing to gain from such radical affiliations,” the aunt said insisting “I am sure that my nephew has been framed by someone for reasons still unknown.

His influential family in Lanka, both politically and legally, is not taking the affair lying down but is actively working to prove his innocence. “They have absolutely nothing to link him to terrorism,” his aunt is reported to have told the Sunday Observer, adding that he was a normal God-fearing boy. A petition for the release of the Sri Lankan student has been started by the”

On Tuesday the family and friends of Kamer swung to action and kept a dusk vigil at Independence Square. A statement from the family read at the protest said Nizamdeen was allowed to contact one family member immediately after the arrest but was then denied access to legal counsel or family members.

The statement read by Nizamdeen’s uncle, Kaleel Cassim, said the family is alarmed by a lack of information.

“We accordingly call upon the Australian government to ensure that investigations into allegations against Kamer are concluded expeditiously, and that he is guaranteed the right to communicate regularly with his family.” The statement also asserted Kamer’s right to receive advice from his attorney as is the right of any one, living in a land which subscribes to the basic concepts of the democracy and do not advertise it by paying mere lip service but demonstrate their faith and adherence to its tenets by practice and earn the right to be treated a member  of the civilised nations of the world. The placards held by protesters read “He has been framed” and “Kamer is innocent.”

No family member who embraces his innocence or any friend who espouses his absence of guilt or any school ma’m who gives a character certificate of good behaviour as testimony to Kamer’s still preserved virginity not to have flirted with Muslim fanaticism and lost his maidenhead in the process can set him free. Only a court of justice, be it Australian, can determine his innocence or guilt.

And, rightly, even whilst the placards displayed at Independence Square  proclaimed from afar ‘Kamer’s innocent,  ‘Kamer is framed’ be it right or be it wrong, as Kamer’s uncle Cassim rightly pointed out in the statement he read on behalf of the family,  ‘”We accordingly call upon the Australian government to ensure that investigations into allegations against Kamer are concluded expeditiously.” And the hope will remain in us all that justice will be done. So did Kamer’s mother’s sister’s husband the present Minister of Sports Faiszer Musthapha state he had faith in the Australian judicial system and that justice will prevail for Kamer, perhaps in the same manner Australia’s former prime minister was taken to task but later excused for failing to declare to the Australian Parliament his acceptance of diamond studded cufflinks given by former president Rajapaksa for adorning the Rajapaksa hosted Colombo CHOGM in 2013.

But one thing irks.  If it had been an Australian citizen – for instance a young man involved in research at the Colombo University to gain his doctorate, in the same manner that Kamer was engaged in at his Sydney university – who was accused and arrested by the Lankan police of being involved in some terrorist activity on the flimsy basis of some scribbling made on some note book, wouldn’t the Australian Government through its High Commission here have lodged a strong protest to the Lankan Foreign Ministry, raised a huge hue and cry on the world platform  and accused the Lankan government of gross violation of human rights of keeping one of their citizens in  custody without, at least, allowing him his liberty on bail, till proper charges were framed against him and indicted  in court?

Wouldn’t the Aussies not have stooped then to say that their citizen haa been remanded and deprived of his liberty by some Lankan Kangaroo Court, even though no kangaroos exist in Lanka, unlike in Australia which boasts plenty, some of them hopping amok, even on the bewigged benches and in the corridors of its law enforcement agencies.

Roll in the hay may cost Kavanaugh his day in court
In some countries, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court can get away with blue murder when caught with his pants down with a married woman near a lake at a questionable late night hour. In some other countries, an appeal court judge can not only find himself excused but elevated to a higher bench and there to sit supreme on it after being found guilty of having an affair with his best friend’s wife and hushing up the files and banishing the trial judge to exile when named as co-respondent in divorce proceedings brought by the aggrieved cuckolded husband on grounds of his wife’s adultery with his best mate.

JUDGE KAVANUGH: Accused of molesting

But not so in the US of A. Such is the high standards the people expect of a potential supreme court judge that a roll in the hay in one’s high school teenage day 30 years ago can cost the chance of being chosen for the top job on the bench, never mind the country’s president being known as a serial groper and sexual molester.

Last Sunday a woman came forward publicly to accuse Trumps nominee for the Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct thirty years ago. The woman Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University who teaches in a consortium with Stanford University claimed: “Kavanaugh physically pushed me into a bedroom as I was headed for a bathroom up a short stairwell from the living room,” read the letter. “They locked the door and played loud music precluding any successful attempt to yell for help. Kavanaugh was on top of me while laughing. They both laughed as Kavanaugh tried to disrobe me in their highly inebriated state. With Kavanaugh’s hand over my mouth I feared he may inadvertently kill me.” She told The Post there were four boys at the party but only two in the room.

In a statement on Friday, Kavanaugh denied the allegations that while at a party during his time in high school, he pushed a woman into a room, locked the door to the room along with another male and tried to take off the woman’s clothes. “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time,” his statement said. The matter is raising a storm on Capitol Hill and may well blow Kavanugh’s chances to get the Supreme Court slot.

Perhaps that’s why the West is West and the East is East, as Kipling wrote and said, the ‘twain will never meet.

Rajapaksa bros’ rugby record set anew by Senanayake sons

This Sunday morn as he toddles off to church to pay thanks to his Jesus, old Thomian and former ruggerite Shiran Senanayake must be treading high heavens’ streets wearing the same high heeled boots Mahinda Rajapaksa would have worn in 2008 when told that his youngest son Rohitha had been appointed the Thomian rugby captain to renew the record first set by the Samarasinghe brothers in the sixties: of the three brothers captaining the First Fifteen of the Thomian Rugger squad.

The record the presidential scions set was to refresh the record set by N. Samarasinghe in 1960 followed by his brother M. Samarasinghe in 1962 and followed still later by their youngest brother Ranjan Samarasinghe in 1972 when he captained the Thomian team in that year.

From left: HASHAKA: Captain 2014, HASHITH: Captain 2015 and HARITH: Captain elect 2019

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s eldest son Namal began the momentum to create a new record to be blazoned on the Hall of Honour in the College Halls of Fame when he kicked the ball to send it rolling to become captain of the rugby side in 2005. It was neatly picked up by his brother Yoshitha who successfully kicked it between the H to become captain in 2006. Not to be outdone the youngest Rohitha followed suit in 2008 by scoring his own try and thus succeeded in establishing the latest ‘three brothers as captains’ record thereby shunting the Sixties Samarasinghes to the shade.

So why is the former Thomian scrum half Shiran who played for college in the late seventies, have a spring in his step and a cheer on his lips and sheer pride in his breast as he saunters off in the direction of the spire of his Catholic church this morn to kneel in prayer and express his gratitude to the Good Lord of his ennobling faith?

Well, to thank God, the father, the Son and the Holy Ghost that his three sons have succeeded in rewriting the record books of their alma mater by becoming the latest trio of brothers to become captains of the Thomian First Fifteen.

Senanayake’s eldest son Hashaka captained the Thomian rugby team in 2014. His second son Hashith followed suit and captained the team in 2015. And his youngest son Harith Senanayake was last week appointed by the guardians of the Thomian prefecture to lead the college side on the field as captain of the rugby team in the coming year.

And done without influence, done without political might, done without the grandeur of office which can sometimes caw and even overawe the zealous wardens at the Thomian Pearly Gates – done solely on the God given talent the heavens have showered upon them.

All records have their time and place. And though time does dull the sheen of old records, new achievements serves to burnish and give new shine when the younger rises to replace the fading papyrus of the record book and add a brand new scrolled roll to etch the changing of the guards.

And this morning, as the old man returns from his church with his spirits raised, let’s raise a toast to him for having sired S. Thomas’ new three musketeers and wish heartiest congratulations for his three sons who have done their college proud.

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