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Rajapaksa seeks time to respond to US court summons

Counsel for Mahinda Rajapaksa filed a motion for "enlargement of time to respond to the complaint" at the US Dictrict Court of Columbia, reported Tamilnet.

Mahinda Rajapaksa was served a US court summons in October, under the US Torture Victim's Protection Act for extrajudicial killings - a civil suit.

Speaking to Tamilnet, spokesperson for the US based activist group, TAG, said,

"This is a landmark development for the expatriate Tamils who are forcing Sri Lanka's President to a neutral western court to answer charges of war-crimes. From absolute immunity enjoyed by Heads of State before world-war II, evolving restricted immunity doctrines within the US's Federal Surveillance and Intelligence Act (FSIA) with the exception clauses will force Rajapakse to present exculpatory legal or factual arguments to rebut exceptions to immunity likely to be advanced by plaintiffs.

Tamil lobby groups should work with sympathetic congresspersons to write letters of support for the case, and pressure the executive branch not to bail out the perpetrator of crimes against humanity,"

The case was brought by three plaintiffs who allege that Rajapaksa held command responsibility for extrajudicial killings of Ragihar Manoharan, the son of plaintiff Dr. Kasippillai Manoharan; of Premas Anandarajah, a humanitarian aid worker for Action Against Hunger and the husband of plaintiff Kalaiselvi Lavan and four members of the Tevarajah family, all relatives of plaintiff Jeyakumar Aiyathurai.

Rajapaksa having evaded a accepting a legal summons, by simply refusing or instructing his government officials, including the Minister for Justice, to refuse any official summons, was subsequently served his summons unconventionally using Tamilnet and Sri Lankan newspapers.

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