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British Police investigating incident involving Sri Lankan military officer - reports

The Metropolitan Police special branch is currently investigating the incident involving a Sri Lankan military officer gesturing a death threat to Tamils protesting in London, sources close to the UK government told the Tamil Guardian. 

"The Special Branch of the Metropolitan Police are interviewing complainants on an ongoing basis against Fernando with a view laying charges. If they succeed in laying charges ahead of Fernando's withdrawal, he faces the risk of being stripped of any diplomatic protection he has been afforded in the United Kingdom," the source, speaking on condition of anonymity said. 

Brigadier Prianka Fernando on Sunday was seen gesturing the slitting of one's throat to Tamils protesting against Independence Day celebrations outside the Sri Lankan High Commission in London on Sunday. 

Brigadier Fernando, who was part of the military operations during 2009, was suspended yesterday by the Ministry of External Affairs, only to be reinstated by the Sri Lankan president today. 

The suspension by the MEA followed the lodging of a strong official protest by the British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, James Dauris, acting on the instructions of the highest level of government, the source added. 

Brigadier Priyanka Fernando was posted to London as the Sri Lankan High Commission’s defence attache last year said a briefing note by journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS) & the International Truth and Justice Project (IJTP).

As part of the military offensive in 2009, Brigadier Fernando fought in Weli Oya and Janakapura for the 11 Gemunu Watch Battalion as part of the 59 Division of the Sri Lankan Army.

The United Nations OHCHR Investigation into Sri Lanka detailed multiple incidents, implicating the 59 Division in the shelling of hospitals south of Mullaitivu.

“Brigadier Fernando was clearly active in the final offensive in the north of Sri Lanka from at least April 2008 – and on those grounds alone should have been subjected to a scrupulous vetting process by both the Government of Sri Lanka and the UK which should have precluded his diplomatic appointment to London,” said the briefing note. 

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