High Court acquits 6 Tamil Nadu fishermen of drugs charges, 2 years after arrests

Six Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested and charged of smuggling heroin by the Sri Lankan navy were acquitted by the Jaffna High Court last week. Despite 15 witnesses testifying for the prosecution, including naval officers, police officers and government officials, High Court judge Annalingam Premashankar said the prosecution’s evidence lacked credibility and cited further procedural errors and legal flaws in his ruling. The six fishermen were identified following their arrest on April 1, 2017 as Shekhar Arul, Thirukkutty Ponnusamy, Subramaniam Thamilmani, Subramaniam Gajendran, Shankararaja...

British MPs file Early Day Motion calling for clean water for Tamils

British parliamentarians filed an Early Day Motion calling for steps to be taken to ensure that clean drinking water is fully accessible in Northern Sri Lanka and expressing their concern over Colombo’s refusal to allow independent assessments of water quality in the region. The motion, signed by parliamentarians from the Conservative Party, the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, the Democratic Unionist Party and the Scottish National Party, was filed earlier this week, days after an event at the Houses of Parliament discussing Tamil genocide recognition. It stated that not...

Sri Lankan navy arrests Tamil youth for ‘LTTE social media posts’

The Sri Lankan navy has arrested a Tamil youth in Mannar for allegedly sharing videos of “LTTE activities” on social media. An official navy website reported that the 20-year-old Tamil man was arrested “during a raid carried out at Pesalei area in Mannar”. It went on to state that the security forces searched his phone and found a “few video clips which contained LTTE activities”, but did not elaborate on what any of these activities were. They also reported that he was “sharing these videos through social media channels” and therefore they arrested him. The arrest comes just days after the...

Sri Lankan army wins mine clearance award in Washington

A Sri Lankan army dog and handler won the Washington-based Marshall Legacy Institute’s (MLI) ‘Team of the Year - 2019’ award this week, as the island continues to have military relations around the globe despite concerns of rights abuses committed by troops. The Sri Lanka Army’s Mine Detection Dog (MDD), ‘Sammy’ and her handler, Lance Corporal P. G Nishantha Bandara of 5 Field Engineer Regiment were at an award ceremony at Washington’s Fairmont Hotel last week to receive the award, with other senior American government officials present . Major General Tissa Nanayakkara of the Sri Lankan army...

Gotabaya runs for president

As Sri Lanka’s former defence secretary and accused war criminal Gotabaya Rajapaksa launches his campaign to become the island’s next president, 47 Roots looks back on his previous statements and his hardline Sinhala nationalist appeal.

Sinhala candidates ignored our demands - C V Wigneswaran

Former Chief Minister of the Northern Province C V Wigneswaran denied claims he is backing any of the candidates in the upcoming Sri Lankan presidential election and said that with the exception of one outsider, all other Sinhala candidates have ignored demands put forward by Tamil political parties. Releasing a statement earlier today, the former Supreme Court Justice also said he had not called for a boycott of the polls as reported in some Southern media outlets. Wigneswaran’s TMK and four other Tamil political parties had put forward a set of 13 demands to all candidates in next month’s...

Strengthened military, UN peacekeeping and ‘Sri Lanka first’ pledged in Sajith’s manifesto

Sajith Premadasa, the United National Party’s candidate for Sri Lanka’s upcoming presidential polls, launched his election manifesto this morning, pledging to strengthen the military, increase UN Peacekeeping involvement, create a “National Intelligence Act” and implement a “Sri Lanka First” foreign policy. The manifesto was launched after presented it to senior a Sinhala Buddhist monks including the Chief Prelate of Malwatta chapter, this morning. On Sri Lanka’s military, the manifesto pledged to create a new post of National Security Advisor, which Premadasa has previously stated will be...

Ranil says he will be PM under Sajith’s presidency

United National Front's (UNF) leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, said he will be the Prime Minister in a future government if Sajith Premadasa is elected as President. Speaking at a media briefing in Colombo yesterday, Ranil said that the UNF had achieved a lot under the current government and that it would continue under a new government, Colombo Gazette reported. When asked who the Prime Minister will be to take the process forward, Wickremesinghe said that he will be the Prime Minister and Sajith Premadasa the President. Despite Ranil's claim, Sajith told an election rally in Dambulla that he...

Families of Tamil asylum seekers assaulted by Sri Lankan security forces

The families of Tamil asylum seekers who have fled to the UK are being harassed, threatened and in some cases physically assaulted by Sri Lankan security forces, said the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) in a press release last week. “Spouses and parents in the villages of the north of Sri Lanka are being visited by police and army within days of the person in London giving a media interview or participating in a protest,” said the ITJP. Based on interviews with 26 Tamil asylum seekers in Britain, ITJP reported that all the interviewees said their families “had been repeatedly...

Sri Lankan cafe triggers outrage over ‘No Tamil’ sign

An upscale Colombo cafe triggered outrage over social media and has launched a reported investigation from Sri Lanka’s official languages commission after it displayed a sign instructing its employees that “No Tamil” is to be spoken.

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