Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa is a native of Sri Lanka and became a citizen of the United States in 2003. While he may have renounced his citizenship after being served in this case, U.S. courts can exercise personal jurisdiction over non-citizens who were served within the United States.
Rajapaksa served as Secretary of Defense of Sri Lanka from November 2005 to January 2015 during the presidency of his brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa. As Secretary of Defense, Rajapaksa was in command of the armed forces, the intelligence services, and the police force. On November 16, 2019, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected as the President of Sri Lanka.
CJA’s case alleges that Rajapaksa, while serving as Secretary of Defense, was involved in both the killing of journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge and the widespread and systematic targeting of journalists and media workers who were perceived to be critical of the Rajapaksa government or the military’s war effort. The case also alleges that Rajapaksa played a role in obstructing the police investigations into these attacks, ensuring impunity for government officials.