Sri Lankan prosecutors on Monday charged 24 people with alleged masterminds of the 2019 Easter Sunday suicide bombings who they say were co-conspirators in the island’s worst-ever single terror attack.
In a wave of killings targeting Sri Lanka’s Christian community, the April 21 attacks on three churches and three luxury hotels killed nearly three hundred people, including dozens of foreign nationals.
Prosecutors have filed more than 20,000 charges against the suspects, three of whom have already been charged with terrorism by the US Department of Justice.
The suspects are in police custody, but one of them did not appear in court on Monday as he was suffering from Covid-19, officials said, adding that the trial would begin on November 23.
Prosecutors told the court that US and Australian forensic experts assisted investigators in locating supporters of the eight-man suicide squad responsible for the attacks.
Sri Lankan authorities have accused their leader, Mohamed Naufar, of being the mastermind of the deadly suicide bombings and of being a member of the Islamic State group.
Former police chief Pujit Jayasundara and top defense official Hemasiri Fernando are also being tried separately for failing to act on repeated intelligence warnings of a possible IS attack.
An investigation set up by former President Maithripala Sirisena found that he was also responsible for failing to stop the attack and should be prosecuted.
The head of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, has repeatedly said he is unhappy with the lack of progress in the investigation into the Easter bombings.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)