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Amnesty urges Sri Lanka not to impede ongoing investigations

Amnesty International urged Sri Lankan authorities not to impede ongoing investigations following the transfer of Nishantha Silva, the Officer-in-Charge at the Criminal Investigations Department who had been responsible for the investigation of the abduction and murder of 11 Tamil youths by Sri Lankan navy personnel. 

Silva was given a transfer order to ordinary duties in Negombo, reportedly on the orders of the Sri Lankan president. 

He was the chief investigator in the navy abduction case, as well as many other high profile cases such as the murder of journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge, assault of journalist Keith Noyahr and the rape and murder of Tamil school student Vithya Sivaloganathan.

“We are concerned about the seeming interference by the authorities with investigations into key allegations of human rights violations including those on attacks against journalists and disappearances," Amnesty's South Asia researcher, Thyagi Ruwanpathirana said. 

"The authorities must ensure that ongoing criminal investigations into these cases are not impeded on any grounds whatsoever. Justice in these cases is long overdue."

Investigations into the Sri Lankan navy’s abduction and murder of 11 Tamil youths led to the arrest of several navy personnel, and the implication of of current Chief of Defence Staff Ravindra Wijegunaratne.

The transfer order comes just days following the President's appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as prime minister. 

The Inspector General of Police was swift to meet with Rajapaksa and his brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksa who was the former defence secretary.