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Sri Lanka ‘closely monitoring’ British ruling on LTTE ban

The Sri Lankan government has responded to a landmark judgement from Britain’s Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission, which found that the decision to keep the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) proscribed as a terrorist organisation was “flawed” and unlawful, by stating it will “continue to closely monitor the progress of the case”.

A statement from Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry in Colombo this morning, said that though the government “could not make direct representations”, it had “assisted the Government of the United Kingdom by providing relevant information with regard to continued terrorist activities”.

The Sri Lankan statement comes after the ruling shed light on the various pieces of evidence solicited and considered by the UK Home Office, as it attempted to uphold its ban on the LTTE, including several contentious assumptions and questionable factual conclusions made by various branches of the British establishment.

Most glaringly, the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) concluded that it was “reasonably confident” that LTTE members were behind the November 2018 murder of two Sri Lankan policemen in Batticaloa. Though a former LTTE cadre was arrested and detained for months over the murder, he was eventually released with all charges dropped after a clear link established between the murder of the policemen and the Islamic extremists who carried out the Easter Sunday bomb blasts, and who were possibly linked to the Sri Lankan state. Last year, a Sri Lankan cabinet spokesperson claimed that at least four army officers were involved in organising the assassination of the police officers and that dozens of National Thawheed Jammath members (NTJ) were on the payroll of Sri Lankan intelligence linked to current president Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The latest Sri Lankan statement added that “while the Government of Sri Lanka was not a party to these proceedings at the POAC and could not make direct representations, the Government has assisted the Government of the United Kingdom by providing relevant information with regard to continued terrorist activities”.

“The Government of Sri Lanka will continue to closely monitor the progress of the case in the UK,” the latest Sri Lankan statement continued.

“The Government of Sri Lanka has sufficient evidence to prove that the remnants of the LTTE and groups aligned with its terrorist ideology are active in foreign countries, working to incite violence and destabilize the country. Sri Lanka remains vigilant of threats to its national security as well as that of the region, and will always support members of the international community in the global fight against terrorism.”

Read more about the commission’s landmark ruling here.

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