British citizens held prisoners by Sri Lanka

British Travel advise downgraded

| by Rohit Gunasekara

(September 18, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Government of President Mahinda Rajapakse has not changed and the minority Tamils are being systematically targeted for their stand that does not concur with his type of governance in Sri Lanka. The President’s statement of ‘You are with us or you are against us’ is practiced in full force to persecute the Tamil minority. Interestingly, Tamils taking a strong line against the government in their host countries and have not violated the draconian laws like the Terrorism Act even that of Sri Lanka are arbitrarily held for investigations by the Intelligence Service of the Defence Ministry.

According to sources close to the External Affairs Ministry in Colombo, there are five such Sri Lanka born British citizens held in captivity by the Intelligence Department coming under the management of the Defence Ministry run by the President’s brother Gotabaya Rajapakse. All of them are Tamils.Controversial Gotabaya Rajapakse is one of those will be implicated, if UN’s international war crimes effort move ahead in the near future.

One of them held in arbitrary captivity is said to be fifty one year old Mrs Vasugi Kaunanithy. Vasugi went to Sri Lanka on the 8th July 2011 with her daughter on a three weeks holiday. At the end of the holiday on 2nd August, she went to the Katunayake Airport to fly to Chennai with her daughter. They checked in the bagages and went to the Immigration Desk where they were told they have to be investigated and was taken to a room. After half an hour, both mother and daughter Anchana Karunanithy were separated. The daughter was released within twenty four hours whilst the mother of two was held in captivity since then without any charges or being produced before a Court of Law.

Vasugi is a British passport holder and is the wife of a Tamil political activist of Sri Lanka government detested Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam(TGTE).

TGTE’s one of the founder member is none other than the former arm’s procurer of the LTTE Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP) who is enjoying the luxury privileges of the Defence establishment without even being produced before the court of law for violating the Terrorism Act of Sri Lanka. Kumaran Pathmanathan who had violated the very basics of the draconian Terrorism Law of Sri Lanka has still not even seen the entrance of any of the notorious prisons in Sri Lanka, leaving aside the hardships enjoyed by the inmates there.

Approach to Kumaran Pathmanathan for the release of Vasugi has gone blank.

Sri Lanka government has informed the British High Commission of the arrest and detention of Vasugi. Regular interactions are said to be taking place between the captors of Vasugi and an officials of the British High Commission for her speedy release. But officials with ulterior motives to pressurise the British government and the TGTE are deliberately holding her in captivity indefinitely.

According to sources, the British government is frustrated over the indefinite detention of the British citizens. Following their frustrating experience, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office had downgraded its advise to visitors to Sri Lanka. It is expected that further downgrading will take place if the captives are not released and more British citizens are arrested by the Intelligence Service.

When a senior TGTE official was contacted to find out their effort to release Vasugi he said: ‘We wish to respect the views of the family as they wish to handle this matter privately with the help of the British government’.

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