Over twenty arrests during round-up in Batticaloa

Tensions were high in Batticaloa on Friday as the Sri Lankan military and police carried out a round-up making over twenty arrests, following the theft of a handgun from a police officer. Although the stolen gun was found, supposedly tossed on the floor a short distance from the original incident, LTTE cadres were left particularly anxious by the search operations as they recalled the round-up of former cadres and six months detention of one, following the murders of two police officers in the district. “We hope we are not wrongly scapegoated and punished again,” one former cadre told...

Black Tigers Day marked at TNA Kilinochchi office

Black Tigers Day was marked at the Tamil National Alliance office in Kilinochchi on Friday. The day commemorates the men and women of the LTTE’s elite Black Tigers on the anniversary of the first ever Black Tiger offensive by Captain Miller in 1987. The commemoration at the TNA’s ‘Arivakam’ office featured a photo of Angayarkanni, who became the first female Black Tiger in August 1994. “We all have the duty to preserve Tamil history and pass it on to the next generations,” said TNA MP Sivagnanam Shritharan at the event. “The sacrifice of each of the martyrs (Maaveerar), especially the Black...

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court delays death penalty

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court has granted interim relief in a petition filed by a death row prisoner who was due to be executed by the state, delaying the death penalty until at least October of this year. As many as twellve petitions had been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the implementation of the death penalty on the island after a 43 year moratorium, a move which has sparked international condemnation. Sri Lanka’s president Maithripala Sirisena had vowed to push ahead with implementation despite the outrage. However, today’s Supreme Court decision has stayed any implementation until...

Sri Lankan army contradicts itself over surrendered LTTE cadres  

The Sri Lankan military claimed that it did not receive any surrendering Tamil fighters during the closing stages of the armed conflict in 2009, in an extraordinary denial of its role in the disappearances of hundreds of LTTE cadres. Responding to a Right To Information (RTI) Act request, the Information Officer of the Sri Lanka Military, Brigadier Sumith Atapattu, who was part of the Mechanised Infantry regiment claimed “LTTE members have not surrendered themselves to the Sri Lanka military during the last stages of the war and they have handed themselves over to the Sri Lankan government”.

HRCSL criticises Sri Lanka's arbitrary arrests

Sri Lanka’s human rights commission has criticised police for arbitrary and illegal arrests in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday attacks. Hundreds have been arrested in the months following the attacks, with Sri Lankan police receiving high profile criticism for cases such as that of a Muslim woman arrested for wearing a dress which supposedly insulted Buddhism, and a Muslim doctor arrested following a smear campaign by a Sinhala newspaper. “Arrests should not be made merely on hearsay,” the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) told Sri Lanka’s acting police chief, noting that the...

Muslims face threats and attacks in Sri Lanka - HRW

Muslims in Sri Lanka continue to face the threat of mob violence and arbitrary arrests amongst other abuses warned Human Rights Watch (HRW) today, as it called on the government to do more to protect the Muslim community. “The ethnic violence and human rights violations that many Sri Lankans have suffered are now being directed against Muslims,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at HRW. “The Sri Lankan government needs to take a stand against discrimination and intolerance, use the law to punish those responsible for abuses and protect, rather than target, vulnerable people." Sri...

Sri Lanka’s executioners ‘ready for the job’

Sri Lanka’s newly hired hangmen are “ready for the job,” said a prison official this week, as president Maithripala Sirisena vowed to press ahead with executions despite widespread international outcry. Bandula Jayasinghe, an official at the Justice and Prison Reforms Ministry, told Arab News that the two executioners “have been fully trained”. “Now they are ready for the job,” he said. “It’s good to keep their names secret so that the public and even their own family members don’t know they are hangmen.” Arab News reports that up to 20 prisoners — eight Muslims, eight Tamils and four...

Sri Lanka’s tourist numbers fall by more than half

Sri Lanka’s tourist industry is still struggling to recover from the aftermath of the Easter Sunday attacks, with arrival numbers dropping by more than half from last year. The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority said there were just 63,072 tourist visits to Sri Lanka last month, a drop of 57% from June 2018, when the number was 146,828. Tourist numbers in May had fallen 70.8% to 37,802 compared with 129,466 a year ago The numbers mark the lowest foreign arrivals to the island since the armed conflict ended more than a decade ago. The fall, described as a “nosedive” by Reuters, comes...

61 Sri Lanka troops sent on a UN mission to South Sudan

The Sri Lankan army has confirmed that it will send 61 army personnel including 11 officers to assist the UN mission of South Sudan (UNMISS) in supporting their new hospitals. The deployment of Sri Lankan troops to assist with the medical project on behalf of the UN has raised concerns given the problematic record of the Sri Lankan military abroad. The UN had previously accused 134 Sri Lankan soldiers of sexually abusing and exploiting 9 Haitian boys and girls from late 2004 to mid-2007. The report read that: “The acts of sexual exploitation and abuse were frequent, occurred usually at night...

13 STF members acquitted of Trinco Five killings

Trincomalee Chief Magistrate, M.Hansa, delivered the verdict today acquitting 13 Special Task Force members who were suspected of executing five Tamil youth whilst they spent an afternoon at Trincomalee beach on 2 January 2006. Fifteen charges were filed against suspects and they were released due to the lack of evidence.

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