Commonwealth to monitor Sri Lankan presidential elections

The Commonwealth is deploying a team to monitor the presidential election in Sri Lanka. The Commonwealth Observer Group will judge whether the election has been conducted in line with Sri Lanka’s election-related legislation as well as relevant regional, Commonwealth and international commitments. The ten member team will assess all factors affecting the credibility of the electoral process by considering the the pre-electoral environment, the voting process, counting and tabulation procedures, and the result announcement. The independent group will submit a report to the Commonwealth...

‘We fed bodies to crocodiles’ admits driver of Sri Lanka’s white vans

Sri Lanka’s white van squads abducted, tortured and murdered victims before feeding their bodies to crocodiles, admitted a man who was supposedly a driver for the squads under the previous government. In a dramatic press conference in Colombo on Sunday, Anthony Fernando was introduced by Sri Lanka’s health minister as white van driver who had personally witnessed kidnappings and torture.

Remembering Raviraj - 13 years on and still searching for justice 

Commemorating 13 years since the murder of Tamil parliamentarian Nadaraja Raviraj, remembrance events were held in Jaffna and Vavuniya on Sunday.

“White van chief Gotabaya! Get out!” Families of disappeared protest as Mahinda in Mullaitivu

Tamil families of the disappeared demonstrated in Mullaitivu on Sunday as former president Mahinda Rajapaksa was in town for a rally in support of his brother Gotabaya’s presidential bid.

Sumanthiran defends TNA decision to back Sajith 

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian M A Sumanthiran defended his party’s decision to back Sri Lankan presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa in next week’s election, as criticism over the decision continues. Premadasa has “built a reputation for working hard and delivering results, claimed Sumanthiran, adding that, “Our people look to him to live up to his promises to continue the constitutional reform process and deliver on a political solution that will meet the aspirations of Sri Lankans across the country”. The TNA decision sparked criticism from some quarters, as mothers of the...

SLPP accused of covering up rape of disabled woman

At least three Sri Lankan police officers have interdicted after it was revealed they failed to take a statement from a disabled woman who was raped, reportedly by a Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) supporter following a rally. The woman, who has Down’s Syndrome, had reportedly attended an SLPP rally with her mother, before she was assaulted on her way home. Sri Lanka’s Minister of Women and Child Affairs Chandrani Bandara claimed that’s senior SLPP leaders have since pressurised the police to ensure that no further action is taken on the case. “People may remember that a PS chairman in the...

Hundreds of Sinhalese diaspora fly from USA to vote Gotabaya

At least 850 members of the Sinhalese diaspora have flown to Sri Lanka in order to vote for Gotabaya Rajapaksa in next week’s presidential election, reports the Sunday Times. With the election less than a week away, leading candidates are busy campaigning for votes with the election set to be a close run between Rajapaksa and Sajith Premadasa. Rajapaksa, who moved to the United States in 1998, reportedly has a large group of supporters amongst the diaspora in Los Angeles. His Sri Lankan rivals have accused Rajapaksa of still holding US citizenship. He currently faces a US civil lawsuit filed...

Sri Lanka’s president pardons killer of Swedish teenager

Sri Lanka’s current president Maithripala Sirisena pardoned the killer of a Swedish teenager this weekend, in a move that has symbolised the climate of impunity on the island. Jude Jayamaha was sentenced to death over the 2005 murder of Yvonne Jonsson, who was reportedly on holiday in Sri Lanka when she was beaten to death at a high-rise apartment in Colombo. Sirisena had announced last month he was considering pardoning Jayamaha, saying he had behaved well in prison and called the murder an "incident of impatience". Reacting to the news on Facebook, Jonsson's sister Caroline directly...

Tamil politicians should join ‘extra-parliamentary agitation’

The Tamil political leadership should join the “extra-parliamentary” agitations across the North-East in order to achieve the political goals of power-sharing, accountability and demilitarisation, argued journalist J S Tissainayagam in an article for the Asian Correspondent last month.

Extremist monk Gnanasara to face fresh contempt of court charges in Feb

A fresh contempt of court hearing against Gnanasara, a leader of the extremist Sinhala-nationalist BBS organisation, has been set for February 17, 2020 by the Sri Lankan court of appeal. The action was filed by TNA MP Shanthi Sriskandarajah after Gnanasara had led the cremation of a Buddhist monk on Tamil temple premises, directly contravening a court order prohibiting the action. The senior superintendent (SSP) and chief inspector of the Mullaitivu police department will also appear as defendants in the case, for failing to prevent the court order from being disobeyed. During the incident...