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Tamil diaspora orgs jointly call for Sri Lanka Defence Attaché to be expelled from UK

Tamil diaspora organisations today were unanimous in their call for Sri Lanka's Defence Attaché to be expelled from the UK and be declared 'persona non grata'.

In a joint letter to the UK Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, key Tamils diaspora organisations urged him to take swift action on the issue. 

"We, the undersigned Diaspora Organisations, write to make this very urgent request to declare the Sri Lankan Military Attaché, Brigadier ANDIGE PRIYANKA INDUNIL FERNANDO, a “persona non grata” for committing serious offences under the British law, abuse of diplomatic immunity in the UK and for being complicit in the war crimes & crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka."

"We, the undersigned further request that the grant of leave to remain in the UK to the Sri Lankan Military Attaché be curtailed on the basis that it is undesirable for the Attaché to remain in the UK in the light of his conduct, character and associations."

The letter was signed by the British Tamil Conservatives (BTC), British Tamils Forum (BTF), Global Tamil Forum (GTF), International Centre for the Prevention and Prosecution of Genocide (ICPPG), Tamils Coordinating Committee (TCC-UK), Tamils for Labour, Tamil Friends of the Liberal Democrats, Tamil Information Centre (TIC), Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE), Tamil Solidarity (TS)

"We jointly make this urgent request as the UK has under domestic law and international law, clear obligations to:
a) Curtail the Diplomatic visa of Brigadier Priyanka Fernando on the following two grounds;
b) Declare Brigadier Priyanka Fernando a ‘persona non grata’;
c) Arrest him for breaching the domestic law and initiate criminal proceedings;
d) Investigate the credible and serious allegations of his complicity in war crimes in Sri Lanka."

Read the full letter here.

Brigadier Priyanka Fernando was filmed making a throat slitting gesture to Tamils protesting by the Sri Lankan High Commission in London on Sunday.

His action has also been condemned by a number of British MPs and rights groups, as a clear threat to the Tamils, echoing the mass atrocities committed against Tamils during the end of the armed conflict. 

He was suspended by the Ministry of External Affairs earlier this week, only to be reinstated by the Sri Lankan president the following day. The Sri Lankan army has defended his actions, praising him for his 'signal' to the 'LTTE diaspora'. 

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.

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