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September 25, 2017 [GMT]
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CID claims Britisher provided vital info, identified phone seized by navy
[Monday 2017-07-17 18:00]

Police headquarters yesterday claimed that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), probing the alleged involvement of a group of navy officers in eleven wartime disappearances, had recorded the statement of British national Mike Horgan, who allegedly witnessed one of the abductions. Police spokesman and attorney-at-law SP Ruwan Gunasekera said Horgan had been here to arrange for a victim, identified as Soosai, from Mannar to join a football team in the UK.

Police headquarters yesterday claimed that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), probing the alleged involvement of a group of navy officers in eleven wartime disappearances, had recorded the statement of British national Mike Horgan, who allegedly witnessed one of the abductions. Police spokesman and attorney-at-law SP Ruwan Gunasekera said Horgan had been here to arrange for a victim, identified as Soosai, from Mannar to join a football team in the UK.

  

Addressing a hurriedly arranged media conference at the Information Department, SP Gunasekera said the navy had abducted the footballer’s father. The police spokesman described the Britisher as the person in charge of a local football team in Britain. The group of missing persons Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese. SP Gunasekera said that they hadn’t been involved in terrorism and were also cleared by the military. SP Gunasekera said investigations had got underway after police headquarters received a written complaint from the then navy chief Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda on May 28, 2009, soon after the successful conclusion of the war. The CID launched an inquiry on June 10, 2009.

Gunasekera said the CID had recorded the foreigner’s statement in respect of the abduction as well as seizure of his hand phone allegedly by the navy. At the onset of the briefing the police spokesman said police had decided to brief the media in the wake Commodore DKP Dassanayake’s arrest in connection with the disappearances. The Joint Opposition flayed the government over the arrest in the wake of UN Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson. It said last Friday a senior officer had been arrested in connection with the disappearance of over 11 persons. Emmerson said the arrest had been made close on the heels of Army Chief Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake’s public assurance that those members of armed forces who had committed crimes would be brought to justice.

The police spokesman said Admiral Karannagoda had complained to police headquarters against his chief security officer Lt. Commander Sampath Munasinghe on May 28, 2009 following the recovery of four national identity cards, one passport bearing the name of one of those whose national identity cards were found, one mobile phone, promissory notes worth over one million rupees and approximately 450 rounds of ammunition from Munasinghe’s cabin. The police official said that Admiral Karannagoda wanted to have Munasinghe investigated as regards his possible involvement with terrorists primarily due to him being in possession of ammunition not issued to him by the navy. Gunasekera said the Britisher had identified the hand phone recovered from Munasinghe as the one seized from him. The official said that the Britisher had provided vital evidence and investigators were in the process of examining available data.

The lawyer said that the four national identity cards that had been found were issued to the missing footballer, his father and two other residents of Kotahena and Trincomalee. Following Admiral Karannagoda’s complaint, the CID had received information from the navy that led to the arrest of Lt. Commander Hettiarachchi. Subsequent investigations revealed that those who had been responsible for four abductions were accountable for seven more disappearances in Kotahena, Grandpass, Maradana and Dematagoda and Dehiwela in 2008.

SP Gunasekera said that the abductions had been carried out to obtain ransom. Asked by The Island whether the victims’ were wealthy for them to be especially targeted, the SP said they had money. Claiming that investigators had gathered vital information regarding the use of hand phones by missing persons during secret detention at Chaitya road, Colombo and Trincomalee, Gunasekera said that the abductors used a vehicle seized from a missing person. They had changed the chassis number and used it as a navy vehicle, the police officer said. According to SP Gunasekera the detained persons used hand phones belonging to some navy personnel based at places where they were held. "Obviously, some navy personnel resented what was happening," the police spokesman said. The official said that some family members of the detained persons had even ‘reloaded’ phones belonging to navy officers as their loved ones used them.

The then Captain Dassanayake had been the officer in charge of two special teams headed by Lt. Commander Hettiarachchi and Lt. Commander Ranasinghe responsible for the disappearances, the police spokesman said. He said with the arrest of Commodore Dassanayake, now attached to the Office of the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) the number of navy personnel taken in connection with disappearances had gone upto seven. Of them, Lt. Commander Munasinghe, who had been arrested at the beginning of the investigation was given bail.

Asked by The Island how one officer whose arrest led to other personnel being implicated in disappearances received bail, the Police spokesman said that it was not a problem. The spokesman emphasized that it did not mean Lt. Commander Munasinghe had been cleared and no longer under investigation. The police spokesman said that they had received altogether 28 complaints as regards disappearances though only eleven were being investigated at the moment.

When The Island sought an explanation regarding the inordinate delay in the CID making arrests in spite of receiving a complaint in May 2009, SP Gunasekera said that investigations were complicated and the progress slow. However, since the change of the government, the process had been accelerated and they were going ahead with investigations. Gunasekera said there could be further arrests. Responding to another query, Gunasekera said that some family members of the missing had met Captain Dassanayake at that time and the CID could prove its case.

  
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UN ready to provide every possible assistance to SL-UN Chief
[Sunday 2017-09-24 18:00]

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres says the UN is ready to provide every possible assistance to Sri Lanka in its efforts to build as a prosperous nation where the reconciliation is strengthened. He further said that the UN will provide its maximum support to build as an exemplary nation in the world, where all the Sri Lankans can live with prosper and reconciliation, while closely associating with Sri Lanka and its citizens, Sri Lanka’s President’s office said in a statement.



Interim report on draft constitution presented to Chief Prelates for consultation
[Sunday 2017-09-24 18:00]

The Prime Minister has sought consultation of the Chief Prelates of Malwathu and Asgiri chapters on the interim Report of the proposed draft Constitution submitted to parliament on Thursday. Accordingly, the Leader of the House Minister Lakshman Kiriella today presented the interim Report of the draft Constitution to the Chief Prelate of Malwathu Chapter Most Ven. Thibbotuwawe Sri Sumangala Maha Thero and Anunayake (Deputy Prelate) of Asgiri Chapter Most ven. Anamaduwe Dammadasa Thero.



Polls to 3 PCs after delimitation
[Sunday 2017-09-24 18:00]

The Elections Commission has decided to complete the delimitation process of the Sabaragamuwa, North Central and Eastern Provincial Councils ahead of holding the elections to those Councils, sources said. The Chairman of the Elections Commission, Mahinda Deshapriya, said that once the Delimitation Commission is formed and after the delimitation process is completed they intend to hold the polls to the three Councils. Deshapriya said that he was confident the delimitation process could be completed within a three-month period and the election held in January next year. He added that the election will be held based on the 2018 national election register which is to be published on 30 September 2017.



SF personnel in alleged crimes None above the law – Waidyaratne
[Sunday 2017-09-24 18:00]

Defence Secretary Kapila Waidyaratne says that Security Forces personnel accused of crimes will have to face the law. In an interview with Ceylon Today, Waidyaratne said that whoever was responsible for crimes such as the murder of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunga and the disappearance of Prageeth Ekneligoda will be brought to book.



SLFP MPs To Meet MS Individually And Split
[Sunday 2017-09-24 18:00]

A group of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Parliamentarians are to meet President Maithripala Sirisena individually over the next few days and sit as independent members in Parliament. Deputy Minister and SLFP member Duleep Wijesekera said that he and a few other SLFP members are to meet the President individually as opposed to one group. Earlier, at least 20 SLFP members of the government were to split but now it is understood that only a few will cross. Among the SLFP parliamentarians set to meet the President over the next few days are Nimal Lanza and T. B. Ekanayake.



New Sri Lanka Map With Port City To Be Presented Next Year
[Sunday 2017-09-24 18:00]

A new Sri Lanka map, which will include the Port City, is to be presented next year. The Survey Department said that the new map has been completed and will be presented next year. The new map includes the changes to Colombo with the construction of the Port City, Surveyor General P. M. P. Udayakantha told The Sunday Leader. The new map will also show the changes seen in Hambantota with the construction of the Hambantota Port, he said.



Speed up the current progress – UNHR Chief to President Top News
[Saturday 2017-09-23 18:00]

While commending the Sri Lanka’s current progress to ensure human rights and reconciliation, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid al-Hussein said he will be more satisfied if this journey of Sri Lankan government will be speeded up, Sri Lanka’s President’s Office said. The UNHR Chef made this comment during a meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena in New York.



No minister in delegation to UN
[Saturday 2017-09-23 18:00]

Even though Minister Sarath Fonseka had claimed that he was denied a visa to enter the US, none of the ministers were included in the President Maithripala Sirisena-led delegation to attend the UN General Assembly, Daily Mirror learns. The minister said on Monday that he was not granted visa though his name was included in the delegation to the UN. It was reported that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe parliamentary sessions scheduled for the week.



No asylum for Rohingya refugees in Lanka - PM
[Saturday 2017-09-23 18:00]

The government will not accept any asylum seeking refugees from any country to Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said. The PM has also said the decision not to permit any refugees was taken in line with the Yahapalana government’s foreign policy. The Prime Minister said so when he was asked by the Government parliamentary group yesterday about its standpoint over the Rohingya refugees seeking asylum in Sri Lanka.



Northern Province’s Anitha sets new record in pole vault
[Saturday 2017-09-23 18:00]

Jaffna's vaulting queen Anitha Jagatheeshwaran once again renewed her own SL record in the Pole Vault at the 43rd National Sports Festival started in Matara yesterday. Anitha who already renewed the SL record less than a month ago at the National Athletics Championship with 3.47m went over 3.48m here before the rain interruption. Downpour for a few minutes halted her progress making the take off area muddy and that affected her performance. She had to settle at the 3.48m mark once again failing to go over the 3.50m mark which Anitha was trying to achieve since last year.



P’ment to celebrate 70 years with special sitting on 3 Oct.
[Saturday 2017-09-23 18:00]

A special ceremonial parliamentary sitting will be held on 3 October at 2.30pm to mark the 70th anniversary of the first Parliament of Sri Lanka. According to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, the Committee on Parliamentary Business reached this decision Thursday evening. The Parliament of Ceylon met for the first time on 14 October 1947 with Sir Alfred Francis Molamure presiding as Speaker. Membership was determined at the 19-day-long General Election held between 23 August and 20 September 1947. The duration of the first Parliament was limited to four years and five months and was dissolved on 8 April 1952.



PC Elections Amendment Bill, anti-democratic’
[Saturday 2017-09-23 18:00]

The collective of election monitoring organisations yesterday said the Provincial Council Elections Amendment Bill passed in Parliament this week was anti-democratic and it aimed to delay the Provincial Council Elections. Addressing the media yesterday at the Centre for Society and Religion (CSR), People's Action For Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said the aim of the act was something else.



Constitution framers divided over bid to change ‘unitary state’
[Friday 2017-09-22 19:00]

The Steering Committee, tasked with drafting a new constitution has raised the hackles of some of its members by proposing that the term, ‘unitary state’ be done away with. The Steering Committee interim report submitted by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to the Constitutional Assembly yesterday states that people in the south are scared of the term, ‘federal’ while the people in the North fear the word, ‘unitary.’



No provable evidence filed against Jayasuriya: Marapana
[Friday 2017-09-22 19:00]

Upholding the Government pledge to protect military personnel against alleged war crimes, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Development Assignments Tilak Marapana yesterday confirmed to the Parliament that no firm submissions were made against former Army Commander General Jagath Jayasuriya.



Three PCs to come under purview of Governors: Minister
[Friday 2017-09-22 19:00]

The three Provincial Councils of Sabaragamuwa, North Central and Eastern will be brought under the administration of the governors of the respective provinces once the terms of office expire on September 26 until such time the elections are held for the three provinces, Local Government and Provincial Councils Minister Faizer Musthapha said yesterday.



President to meet Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein today
[Friday 2017-09-22 19:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena is scheduled to meet United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on September 22. The Human Rights situation in the country will be the focal point of this discussion. President Sirisena addressed the 72nd United Nations General Assembly on September 19. In his speech, President Sirisena said that national reconciliation is important, particularly given the country’s diverse population and expressed that while certain elements expected fast results which he said would merely be “short-term solutions.”



President Sirisena an exemplary leader: US
[Friday 2017-09-22 19:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena was an exemplary leader working closely with all member states, the United States said yesterday. Meeting President Sirisena on the side lines of the 72nd Session of the United National General Assembly in New York , US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon said the US also appreciate the cooperative approach taken by Sri Lanka when dealing with regional countries.



SLFP wants executive presidency retained
[Friday 2017-09-22 19:00]

The SLFP yesterday insisted that the executive presidency had to be retained if the unitary character of the state was to be safeguarded. Addressing a press conference held in the Parliament complex, Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said a president with certain executive powers was essential for the stability of the country.



TNA stance during debate stage: Sampanthan
[Thursday 2017-09-21 17:00]

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) will come up with its stance on the interim report of the Constitution at the time when it is debated in the Constitutional Council in the near future, TNA and Opposition Leader R Sampanthan said today. "We will talk about the report later and what I would like to stress now is the need to build a peaceful and united Sri Lanka," he said. Speaking at the constitutional assembly, the opposition leader said what is needed is to ensure that country achieves peace where it's people could live in harmony.



New Constitution; Steering Committee interim report presented
[Thursday 2017-09-21 17:00]

Sri Lanka's future depends on the ability which the UNP and the SLFP possess to reach an agreement on the fundamentals of the new Constitution, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told the Constitutional Assembly today. The Prime Minister made this remark while presenting the interim report of the steering committee established under the constitutional assembly. The report was actually presented to the constitutional assembly by him.


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