October 2015

Solheim, Vidar reveal all in book out on Nov. 2

20th October 2015 // 0 Comments

Former Norwegian Development Minister and Special Envoy to Sri Lanka Erik Solheim and Vidar Helgesen, the former Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister, now Minister for Europe will reveal information related to the Norwegian role in Sri Lanka. Solheim and Vidar Helgesen are two of the key contributors to the book, authored by Mark Salter. The author of the book notes that between 1983 and 2009 Sri Lanka was host to a bitter civil war fought between the Government and the LTTE, which sought the creation of an independent Tamil state. The war ended violently in May 2009 with the crushing defeat of the Tamil Tigers by the Sri Lanka Army amid the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians. But prior to this grim finale, for […]

Is Sirisena Ready to Release Tamil Political Prisoners?

19th October 2015 // 0 Comments

Will Tamil political prisoners in Sri Lanka really be released? By Taylor Dibbert Sri Lanka recently witnessed a hunger strike by more than 200 Tamil political prisoners across the country (who were demanding that they be released). The strike lasted for about a week and has now ended. Evidently the prisoners have been promised by President Maithripala Sirisena (in writing) that he will deal with this issue by November 7. However, what happens next remains unclear. Would Sirisena really allow these prisoners to be released? A range of people and groups (both on the island and abroad) have been demanding that the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) be repealed for quite some time. The legislation gives the country’s state security personnel wide-ranging authority to search, […]

AI urges Government to make good on promises

19th October 2015 // 0 Comments

The London based Amnesty International (AI) says it is time for Sri Lanka to make good on its promises to account for alleged crimes under international law and build the domestic culture of human rights necessary to prevent the recurrence of past violations. Olof Blomqvist, press officer at the Media Programme of Amnesty International said that if a process of truth, justice, reparation and non-recurrence is to take root in Sri Lanka, an essential step must be broad and meaningful consultation with representatives of civil society throughout the country. “With parliamentary elections over and a new government in place, it is time for Sri Lanka to make good on its promises to account for alleged crimes under international law and build the domestic culture of […]

Death toll in last stage of Eelam War uncertain: Ranil Wickremesinghe

19th October 2015 // 0 Comments

The Sri Lankan Prime Minister, however, hints that the tally “could be less than 40,000”. Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has acknowledged that there are “no definite figures” regarding the final estimate of casualties in the last stage of the Eelam War, which concluded in May 2009. “No one knows. Even the Human Rights Commission couldn’t say,” Mr. Wickremesinghe told The Straits Times of Singapore on the issue during his visit to the south-east Asian country late last week. He also hinted that the tally “could be less than 40,000,” the figure originally mentioned in a report of the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts in March 2011. A report of the Secretary General’s Internal Review Panel on UN Action in Sri Lanka in […]

TNA will stage ‘Fast to Death’ on the 8th November 2015.

18th October 2015 // 0 Comments

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has warned that it will stage a fast if President Maithripala Sirisena makes a u-turn on his assurance to the Tamil political prisoners. The Tamil political prisoners had suspended their fast unto death yesterday after the President assured a solution to their concerns. The assurance was conveyed to the prisoners by the TNA, including opposition and TNA leader R. Sampanthan. The TNA however said that if the President fails to meet his commitments by November 7 the prisoners will resume their fast and the TNA will also join them. The prisoners have been demanding their release or to be tried for the charges raised against them. Several prisoners detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, have not be presented to […]

Lankan navy men attack TN fishermen; four injured: Police

18th October 2015 // 0 Comments

RAMESWARAM(TN): Four Tamil Nadu fishermen were today injured when they were attacked allegedly by Sri Lankan naval men with stones while fishing near Katchatheevu island. Police said Rameswaram fishermen, who had ventured into the sea in 641 boats, were stopped and attacked near Katchatheevu in the Palk Straits allegedly by Lankan naval personnel who came in patrol boats and sea bikes. The Lankan naval men also snapped the fishing nets of more than 30 boats and damaged the ves .. Read more at: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/49439459.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

Mahinda gave Pillayan a contract to kill Maithri!

18th October 2015 // 0 Comments

Former eastern province chief minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, presently under CID custody, has confessed that he was given a contract by Mahinda Rajapaksa when he was the president to kill the then minister and SLFP general secretary Maithripala Sirisena.  PiIlayan was arrested and is being kept under detention orders on suspicion that he had conspired, aided and abetted and supplied arms to kill TNA MP Joseph Pararajasingham. He has said that Rajapaksa had told him personally to kill Sirisena in the eastern province or in Polonnnaruwa, and that he got ready to do that in Colombo as he would be accused if that was done in the EP, and when he told him about that, the ex-president said, “I will be suspected if that […]

Director of film on Sri Lankan journalist moves High Court

18th October 2015 // 0 Comments

Court asks Film Certification Appellate Tribunal to state why film was denied certification A Bangalore-based film director has moved the Madras High Court, challenging the order of Film Certification Appellate Tribunal, refusing certification to ‘Porkalathil Oru Poo’, a Tamil film based on the life of LTTE journalist Isaipriya. Director K. Ganeshan submitted that he directed the film based on the telecast made by London-based Channel – 4 on the war between the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE. “I came to know about the Tamil News Reader Isaipriya through the telecast and I thought I could direct a Tamil film based on her real life,” Mr. Ganesan said. “I completed the production of the film in May 2015. By that time, the Tamil Nadu government […]

No One Within TNA Opposes The Resolution – Dharmalingam Siddharthan

18th October 2015 // 0 Comments

Aarliamentarians of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) are to meet on October 20, to determine their stance on the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution cosponsored by the Sri Lankan government ahead of the parliamentary debate that is due on October 23. Despite initial disappointments shared by some of the TNA members, PLOTE leader and TNA MP Dharmalingam Siddharthan told The Sunday Leader that in general there is no one within the party who opposes the UN resolution. He added that the government accepted the content of the resolution by cosponsoring the resolution adopted by the UN and therefore the Tamils ‘cannot afford to throw it away’. Following are excerpts of the interview:  by Waruni Karunarathne Q: Political parties are having internal discussions on the […]

DUBAI BANKS, AVANT GARDE & TRC TELE-DRAMA..

18th October 2015 // 0 Comments

DUBAI BANKS, AVANT GARDE & TRC TELE-DRAMA… By Prasad Gunewardene Some controversial issues surfaced at last Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting. The two main issues were the secret bank accounts which had millions of US dollars in the names of sons of a former VVIP and the latest arrest of a ship in Galle belonging to the controversial Avant Garde arms deals Company set up during the previous regime. As the detection of the ship was made public, several ministers prepared themselves to raise it at the Cabinet as a southern minister was attempting to cover or dilute the issue. When the Cabinet met, the issue of plundered money deposited in a Dubai Bank was taken up. A minister told the meeting that investigations were continuing with […]

Foreign Secretary new SL’s HC in London

18th October 2015 // 0 Comments

By Sujeeva Nivunhella in London Secretary to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ms. Chitranganee Wagiswara has been nominated as Sri Lanka’s new High Commissioner to London, The Sunday Island learns. Ms. Wagiswara, who joined the Sri Lanka Foreign Service in 1981, is the senior-most officer serving at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Bachelor of Commerce degree holder from Sri Jayewerdenepura University, her first appointment was to Rome, Italy as the Third Secretary from 1984 to 1988. She served as the First Secretary in Ottawa, Canada from 1991 to 1994 and thereafter as Deputy High Commissioner in London from 1996 to 1999. She took over as the Sri Lanka High Commissioner to Singapore in December 1999 and she finished her term in January 2003. She was then […]

Dubai Court refuses to freeze account of VVIP’s son

18th October 2015 // 0 Comments

The revelation by a Sunday newspaper (not the Sunday Island) last week that the Sri Lankan government had moved courts in ‘a Middle Eastern country’ to freeze the account of the ‘son of a VVIP of the former regime’ set the cat among the canaries. The courts were to freeze the account last Sunday (since Islamic countries work on Sundays) but we have not heard anything about it thereafter. Be that as it may the government officially confirmed last week that not one but three secret accounts had been discovered in the Middle East, one containing 1,086 million USD, another holding 1,800 million USD and yet another with 500 million USD. The account that was to be frozen last Sunday was said to be the […]

Dubai Court refuses to freeze account of VVIP’s son

18th October 2015 // 0 Comments

Weliamuna spearheads Government campaign to find loot hidden abroad Secret accounts held by at least seven others linked to former regime; Govt. now pursues fresh strategy through local probe Ministers and public not told what is happening in Government bid to track paper trail It was ten days before parliamentary elections on August 17 when news reached the highest levels of the Government about a secret account held by a young politician, the son of a former VVIP, at the Emirates National Bank of Dubai (NBD). That was to cause considerable excitement. The prospect of obtaining the details and exposing it during the polls campaign, it was felt, would bolster tremendously the positions of both the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) under President Maithripala Sirisena […]

‘The ‘F’ word and the Tamil National Question’

17th October 2015 // 0 Comments

Hope to achieve political settlement through adoption of a new constitution. Don’t judge us by broken promises of past” says Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera at UNHRC in Geneva, on 14th September 2015. The statement in September by Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister provided a timely frame of reference to appreciate the ‘Corridors of Power’ exhibition. From the security guards at the venue of the exhibition to international constitution building process experts who gathered in Sri Lanka at the time around a workshop on constitutional reform, from students to academics and activists, ‘Corridors of Power’ even before officially opening to the public generated more interest than any project curated by Groundviews and the Centre for Policy Alternatives previously. Led by the input of Asanga Welikala, in collaboration with Channa […]

All Ceylon Hindu Congress appeals to President

17th October 2015 // 0 Comments

The All Ceylon Hindu Congress has appealed to the President to view the pleas of political prisoners in a spirit of compassion and sympathy. The letter bearing the signatures of ACHC President Kandiah Neelakandan and General Secretary Dr.Muthiah Katirkamanatahn states: “We Appeal to Your Excellency to release the Tamil Political Prisoners and detainees languishing in the jails.We made this same appeal on 10 th January 2015 when we sent Your Excellency the Best Wishes of the Hindus of this country. Now, a Hindu Priest has been sentenced to jail, despite his plea that he was forced to make a confession under duress. In that connection we annex hereto a copy of the report given by J.M.O dated 10th June 2002 which shows how he was […]

Investigations politicised and turned into merry-go-rounds

17th October 2015 // 0 Comments

“The Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power, State Resources and Privileges (PRECIFAC), has summoned former President Mahinda Rajapaksa for questioning today.” Reported Daily FT (15 October). Almost 03 weeks ago on September 23 too an investigating team visited Rajapaksa’s residence and recorded a statement on a petition the PRECIFAC had received, alleging that ITN had sustained a loss of Rs. 200 million because of non-payment of outstanding dues by former president Rajapaksa for telecasts of his presidential election campaign advertisements. However big or small the person, however large or small the sum, any allegation of misappropriation, fraud or corruption should be investigated into and investigated independently and without bias. That was expected of […]

TMVP Leader “Pillaiyaan” Implicated in Assassinations of TNA Parliamentarians Pararajasingham and Raviraj

17th October 2015 // 0 Comments

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Thamil Makkal Viduthalaip Puligal (TMVP) leader Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias “Pillaiyaan” is currently being detained and interrogated by the Police over his suspected involvement in the twin assassinations of Tamil National Alliance(TNA) Parliamentarians Joseph Pararajasingham and Nadarajah Raviraj in December 2005 and November 2006 respectively. Chandrakanthan who made history in 2008 as the first elected chief minister of the Eastern province is presently a member of the Eastern provincial council. He also contested the August 2015 Parliamentary poll on the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) ticket and lost. Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyaan is reportedly in hot water after two of his erstwhile deputies Edwin Silva Krishnanandaraja alias Pradeep Master and Rangasami Kanaganayagam alias ‘Gajan Maamaa’ were earlier taken into custody over the Pararajasingham assassination. They […]

Church and Religious Leaders Must Move Away From defending war criminals as “war heroes” or “martyrs.”

17th October 2015 // 0 Comments

By Ruki Fernando After four contentious resolutions on Sri Lanka, the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on Oct. 1 adopted a “consensus resolution” for foreign judges and prosecutors to help Sri Lanka try those accused of serious crimes during the decades-long civil war. This resolution came as a response to a report by the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which the previous Sri Lankan government had aggressively opposed — going to the extent of threatening, intimidating and arresting Sri Lankans who supported it, including my own detention. There were many Sri Lankans — civil war survivors and their families and activists — both inside and outside the country who braved government threats to testify to the U.N. investigation team. Their […]

MR refuses to budge

17th October 2015 // 0 Comments

Alleges no media freedom under MS govt.  Accuses of censoring his comments Says he never ordered media heads on what and not to publish Confesses he had no involvement in ITN fiasco PRECIFAC recommences public sittings Says President could appoint High Court judges for other duties under the Constitution Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa By Shanika Sriyananda While there was freedom of speech, there was no absolute media freedom under the present government, Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday, while refusing to comment on certain queries raised by journalists. The former president made these comments following a hearing of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power, State Resources and Privileges (PRECIFAC). Rajapaksa criticised the government for allegedly […]

Hunger strike by ‘Tamil Political Prisoners’ called off

17th October 2015 // 0 Comments

The hunger strike launched by suspected Tamil Political Prisoners (some held since 1995) suspected of helping LTTE  has been called off after the assurance given by the President to set up a mechanism to look into their issues. Prisons Commissioner General Rohana Pushpakumara said he and opposition leader R. Sampanthan, TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran visited the prisoners at the Magazine Prison in Colombo this morning and informed them that President Maithripala Sirisena had directed the Justice Minister to formulate a mechanism to look into their issues and finish the process between October 31 and November 07. Mr. Pushpakumara said he would inform the prisoners in Anuradhapura and Bogambara prison too about the decision. Suspected Tamil Political Prisoners (some held since 1995) suspected of helping LTTE […]

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