Assaulted Swiss embassy employee barred from leaving Sri Lanka

The Colombo Chief Magistrate has announced a travel ban against the Swiss embassy employee who was abducted and assaulted in the southern capital last week, officially barring here from leaving Sri Lanka. The announcement comes after reports emerged on Monday that Colombo’s international airport has been alerted by Sri Lankan authorities, that the victim may try and flee the island.

Sri Lanka bars academics from practising as lawyers

Following a decision to the head of law at Jaffna University Dr Kumaravadivel Guruparan from engaging in private legal practice, Sri Lanka’s University Grants Commission (UGC) has announced that all academic staff members can no longer practise as attorneys. In a circular released last week, the UGC said that “approval cannot be granted”, despite a previous 2013 decision, which said academics could practise as attorneys, if “such work is not an obstacle for his/her routine duties”. No further explanation was provided by the UGC. See the full circular here . Guruparan was barred from engaging...

Harassment of journalists surges in first days of Rajapaksa presidency - RSF

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) shares concerns that journalists in Sri Lanka have been subject to different forms of intimidation since Gotabaya Rajapaksa was sworn in as president. In a statement, RSF said that press freedom has been impacted just weeks after Gotabaya took office as president. Sakthivelpillai Prakash, the editor of the Tamil-language newspaper Thinnapuyal was questioned by plainclothes police in Vavuniya on November 25. He was interrogated about the newspaper’s coverage of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and “they asked him to provide the contact details of all...

‘This was a genocide’ - Locals commemorate the Cheddikulam massacre

A ceremony was held in Vavuniya to mark 35 years since the Cheddikulam massacre, where the Sri Lankan military disappeared 52 Tamil men and boys.

Former Sri Lankan Minister likens Gotabaya to Hitler

Former Finance and Media Minister, Mangala Samaraweera likens Gotabaya Rajapaksa's policy to banish beggars from cities to "Hitler's compulsory sterilisation and concentration camps for disabled people." Commenting on Gotabaya's recent move to send all beggars to detention centres, Samaraweera tweeted ; "Like Hitler's compulsory sterilisation and concentration camps for disabled people, GR is banishing beggars from the streets of Colombo. Begging must be dealt with by banishing the conditions which make human beings beg and not by packing them out of sight into camps."

Swiss court rules LTTE not a criminal organisation

Switzerland’s Federal Court has ruled that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) is not a criminal organisation and that its primary goal was to establish an independent homeland, in a landmark ruling that has seen 12 Swiss Tamils acquitted of charges filed by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). In their ruling, which was made public earlier today, judges found there was not enough proof to consider the LTTE a criminal group under the Swiss penal code. The case looked in particular at Switzerland’s Article 260ter, which was originally formulated to be applied to organised criminal...

Tensions heighten as Swiss State Secretary summons Sri Lankan ambassador

Switzerland’s State Secretary Pascale Baeriswyl has summoned Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Bern, after Colombo dismissed accounts of an embassy employee who was abducted and assaulted by unknown men last week. In a statement released this morning by the Swiss Foreign Ministry, Baeriswyl called on Sri Lanka’s ambassador to “explain the purported evidence against the events described by the embassy, which the Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs had alluded to in its press release”. She also said that the Swiss foreign minister “takes its responsibilities to its staff very seriously” and that the...

Sri Lanka alerts airport that assaulted Swiss employee may flee island

The Sri Lankan government has reportedly alerted Colombo’s international airport that a Swiss embassy employee who was abducted and assaulted by unknown men last week, may plan an attempt to leave the island. NewsIn Asia quotes a highly placed source on Monday as saying that Colombo airport was alerted about the possibility of the employee leaving “as a precautionary measure”. The Swiss government is also reported to have requested an air ambulance to allow the assaulted employee safe passage to Switzerland for further treatment. The latest reports come after the Sri Lankan government...

‘Justice must be done’ says Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commission on Swiss abduction

Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commission said that “justice must be done” in response to the abduction and threatening of a Swiss embassy employee in Colombo last week. In a letter written to Sri Lanka’s police chief, the Human Rights Commission said it was “deeply concerned” over reports of the abduction and said that holding those responsible to account was “absolutely essential” to strengthen public confidence in law enforcement. “When the public entertains such fears, it has a chilling effect on democratic rights and freedoms. Not only must justice be done on behalf of the young woman who may...

Sri Lankan President prorogues Parliament until next month

Sri Lanka's President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, issued a gazette stating that he is proroguing Parliament with effect from midnight of December 2 until January 3 2020.