26 September, 2020

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Sri Lanka Does Not Tolerate Any Form Of Torture: Letter To The New York Times

By Prasad Kariyawasam

Prasad Kariyawasam

The New York Times published an article by the Associated Press titled Dozens of Men Describe Rape, Torture by Sri Lanka Government’ on 8 November 2017 .

We publish below the letter sent to the Editor of The New York Times in this connection, by the Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prasad Kariyawasam:

November 8, 2017

The Editor

The New York Times

Dear Editor,

I write with reference to the article titled ‘Dozens of Men Describe Rape, Torture by Sri Lanka Government’ by the Associated Press that was published in the New York Times. 

It would be appreciated in this regard, if this response from the Government of Sri Lanka could also be published in the New York Times, considering the gravity of the allegations and the firm commitment of the National Unity Government to uphold the rule of law.

The Government of Sri Lanka strongly condemns any act of torture, and will ensure that allegations of torture committed in the country will be investigated and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

The Government seeks the assistance and cooperation of all those relevant parties in this endeavour, including parties outside the country, as evidence is key in the conduct of investigations.

The National Unity Government that was formed in Sri Lanka following the January 8, 2015 Presidential Election and the August 2015 Parliamentary Election, is committed, as promised to the people of the country, to work towards reconciliation, good governance, rule of law, and the promotion and protection of human rights, and has taken numerous concrete steps to prevent the commission of torture, including the following:

* Strengthening the National Human Rights Commission and ensuring that they are granted access to places where there may be complaints of torture

* Issuance of orders to all police and security officials forbidding torture of any kind, with punishment to the full extent of the law, if violated

* Issuing a standing invitation to Special Rapporteurs with 6 visits having taken place already since January 2015, including visits by the High Commissioner for Human Rights (February 2016) and the UN Secretary-General (September 2016)

* We have welcomed and continue to welcome visits by human rights organisations, including to the places where allegations of torture have been made, so that they can see for themselves that such illegal and reprehensible actions are not taking place in the country

* The National Human Rights Action Plan (2017-2021) which was launched recently, has a complete chapter on the Prevention of Torture, with indicators for action to be taken, and we are committed to its implementation

* The President of Sri Lanka himself participated in a march organized by the National Human Rights Commission in June 2016, to advocate against torture and affirm the zero tolerance policy on torture at the highest level of Government

* A Committee on Prevention of Torture, established by the Ministry of Law & Order, chaired by the Secretary to the Ministry, convenes monthly meetings to discuss the progress made by relevant stakeholder institutions in ensuring Government’s zero tolerance policy on torture

  • Following a decision of the Committee on Prevention of Torture, a series of one-day workshops were organized for the Senior Superintendent of Police & Superintendent of Police in all divisions of the Country and Investigative Units, such as TID, CID, CIB, all Officers-in-Charge of Police Stations (483 in total) in the months of November/December 2016.
  • The total number of officers trained in 5 batches was 800. The Minister of Law & Order, the Secretary to the Ministry of Law and Order, and the Inspector General of Police attended all workshops in order to emphasize at the highest level, the Government’s commitment to the zero tolerance policy on torture and to prohibit the use of torture as a means of investigation. The officers were informed that action will be taken against any errant member of Police on three fronts. i.e. disciplinary action, criminal charges under the Convention Against Torture Act, and civil suits.
  • An important decision made by the Committee is the decision to initiate investigations regarding cases under Article 11 of the Constitution, once the Supreme Court grants leave to proceed for such cases. Earlier no such action was taken until the Supreme Court delivers judgment on a case.
  • A recent judgement delivered by the Court of Appeal (12/2016) stipulating the investigation procedure regarding complaints of torture has been circulated among all police officers through an internal circular.
  • All high-ranking officers have been instructed to reiterate the above during instruction classes that are conducted for their subordinates on a weekly basis.
  • A special unit has been established under the Deputy Inspector General (Legal) to monitor complaints relating to assault and torture by members of the Police. The unit:
  • Monitors internal messages regarding public complaints on assault and torture that are received from territorial Superintendents of Police (SPs).
  • Monitors media report on the above and compares statistics in such reports with the internal messages received.
  • In the event of a discrepancy, instructs the territorial SPs to send reports on matters raised in the media which they have failed to report on.
  • In the year 2017 (to-date) disciplinary action has been taken against 33 members of the Police for assault and torture while one officer has been dismissed. Disciplinary matter pertaining to 100 Police Officers are currently pending. In 2017, 28 complaints of assault and torture have been received so far.
  • A Special Investigation Unit (SIU) functions directly under the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and conducts investigations including through the use of scientific evidence. SIU comprises skilled officers who are trained in collecting not only physical evidence but also forensic evidence. The standards stipulated in the Istanbul Protocol on mechanism to investigate torture cases, have been incorporated into the Police training curricular. Almost all the convictions, legal action, disciplinary action against Police Officers referred to above have been taken based on investigations conducted by the SIU. The SIU has no decision making power with regard to the action to be taken after an investigation and such decision making is done only by the Attorney General’s Department.

The Government of Sri Lanka does not condone or tolerate any form of torture, and seeks to work with all, including bilateral partners, as well as international organisations, to seek their assistance in terms of sharing experiences and expertise, as well as technical support, to ensure the elimination of this despicable practice and prosecute anyone responsible. 

Yours sincerely,

Prasad Kariyawasam

Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka     

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Latest comments

  • 5
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    CT Editor

    It appears you have stopped facilities such as copy and paste from CT. I find it difficult to circulate interesting CT articles among my contacts without the copy paste facilities.

    Hope you reinstate those facilities as copy/paste facilities are most useful.

    • 2
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      Veddo, why don’t you copy the link and email to your friends? That is what I do. Or click on the envelope and add your emails and send that also woks.

      • 3
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        Kumarsen

        “Why don’t you copy the link and email to your friends”

        It never occured to me. Thanks for the advice.
        In a continuing discussion how do you propose to quote a paragraph or a few sentences where appropriate without tediously typing/repeating the same points?

        Have you noticed the spell check too been immobilised. Are you the one providing technical support to CT? If you cannot fix a problem find someone who can.

      • 1
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        I hope these will be published: not from CT

        Lies after lies in the letter;
        Dozens of men say Sri Lankan forces raped and tortured them
        https://apnews.com/ced017bd441f46ba838aaedf6ff5dbe2

        Dozens of Men Say Sri Lankan Forces Raped and Tortured Them By THE ASSOCIATED PRESSNOV. 8, 2017, 5:09 P.M. E.S.T https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/11/08/world/asia/ap-as-sri-lanka-torture.html

        • 4
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          kumar,
          These are fake stories written for paymenst by LTTE operatives. All those anonymous “victims” are asylum seekers in the west. If they were so badly tormented they should have escaped to India which is only a hop step and a jump! How did they escape the “prison” and buy tickets to fly to UK? These are organized economic refugee criminals trying to defame Sri Lanka.

          • 1
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            Dear Eusense,
            How do you know these are fake stories. If you really know why is it the High Commission in those Countries not filing cases and bring good dignity for Sri Lanka? Do you know why Sri Lanka missed the golden opportunity of an International war crimes investigation which would have brought Sri Lanka standard very high and given a once and for all burial to LTTE operative?

    • 0
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      Testing whether cut and paste works.

      “COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — The general sat on a plastic lawn chair in the garden of his mother’s home, the scent of tropical blooms filling the air as he talked about the alleged rape and sodomy of a Haitian teenager by a Sri Lankan peacekeeper.
      There was no rape, insisted Maj. Gen. Jagath Dias, who was dispatched to Haiti to investigate the 2013 case. He may not have been the best choice for that job — Dias had been accused of atrocities in his own country’s vicious civil war.
      Dias didn’t talk to the accuser, he told The Associated Press, nor did he interview medical staff who examined her. But he did clear his soldier, who remained in the Sri Lankan military.”

    • 11
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      Native,
      Forget Copy & Paste. Do you know where Prasad Kariyawasam has learnt the craft of deceit? To this extent? Why oh why? Forget torture, which happens behind closed doors in SL everyday. But, who killed LW? What about Tajudeen? Who massacred 29 prisoners at Welikada? How does this shameless monkey aka Prasad Kariyawasam sleep at night? After selling out his soul to this extent? Victims are either dead or living with lifetime injuries. This guy is building his career on their blood, sweat and tears. Prasad Kariyawasam GO BEG BY THE ROADSIDE! Then feed your starving family. You will then die, having lived a more dignified life. APPALLING!

      • 5
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        Ben Hurling

        Without copy paste I cannot quote you exactly hence I refrain from a response.

        “How does this shameless monkey aka Prasad Kariyawasam sleep at night?” –

        Surely, he is well aware of his responsibilities when he got the job. It would be normal for anyone who is considered a sociopath having lack of empathy, deceitfulness, ….. towards others, which best suit a Sri Lankan Diplomat.

        I am sure he sleeps well.

      • 6
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        Ben Hurling,

        You have given some good examples but we shouldn’t forget the Bindunuwewa Farm massacre that saw 26 young men lose their lives needlessly. All the culprits were identified but believe-it-or-not everyone got off Scot-free in the end. Even today, go to Bandarawela and see the culprits enjoying their Lion Lager and taste at the local watering holes and boasting about the evil deeds that they committed on that miserable night. Disgraceful!

        • 1
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          Spring Koha,
          I am surprised to hear that. I was under the impression those SOBs were RI for Life. Do you you know how they got themselves out or why?

      • 5
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        ben
        There is no reason to believe asylum seekers who vomit anything to get in to those western countries. Explain why none of these “victims” don’t escape to Tamil Nadu India? The killings of 2 people has nothing to do with what he writes. And more over nothing has happened since then.
        Again, why do you make personal attacks on people with whom you don’t agree with?
        It does not make a good impression on your intellect and therefore your posts!

    • 4
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      CT Editor

      Without the copy paste facility I am unable to spell check, word count, review edit, quote, …………………..

      CT is being silly for immobilising the necessary tools.

      • 1
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        Cut ‘n paste is bad habit. If you keep quoting from others to a minimum and share with us your original thoughts, we would enjoy a lot!

        • 2
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          Tee Twenty

          “Cut ‘n paste is bad habit.”

          Sounds good. I need your advice.
          For example I type three relatively large paragraph.

          Paragraph A
          @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
          &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
          $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
          ****************************************************************************************************************************

          Paragraph B
          £££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
          *************************************************************************************&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&
          %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

          Paragraph C

          &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&*******************************&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ bla bla bla Bullllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll S***t,^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

          Now could you help me to shift Para C to second para, B to the first, and A to the third.
          Thanks in advance.

      • 4
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        Native Vedda

        Take it easy old chap, the cut and paste has been disabled by the new guy who joined recently – the same chap who disabled Trumpooos Twitter account when he left his last employment.

        You gotta laugh: Now keep calm and write on. You can do it!

      • 2
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        Native Vedda – fully agree with you.

    • 2
      1

      Ditto

    • 3
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      NV,
      So there is a problem with CT? I’ve been kicking my laptop for a few hours.Even getting at the address bar only works with the keyboard.

      • 4
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        Spring Koha and old codger

        The way things stand it appears CT is going back to the good old days, reversing all the technological development, no more user friendly system, probably the editor must have gone back to hand cranking car using starting handle,………………………..

        In a few months time, we may be expected to receive CT and sent comments by Morse Code, telex, radio signals, pigeon post, smoke signal, talking drums, marathon runners, marathon Persian couriers on horseback, …….

        Typical South Asian progress.

        • 2
          1

          I noticed even the spell check is not working….test this out … type a word with wrong spelling…..you will see the red underline but when you right click on the word it doesn’t work.

          Perhaps it’s designed for the Sinhala parliamentarians and some Sinhala racist here.

          • 2
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            raja
            So, Tamils need peace and reconciliation?

          • 0
            0

            Yes spell check is not working. I wonder why?

    • 1
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      It seems as usual attempts were made in a hurry to smooth the allegations. Please make sure when you copy and paste materials from difference documents, use a common font. It seems the first part and the second part of the letter to the “NYT editor” has different fonts.

      About the substance in the letter, as usual it goes like; hey we are now trying to be good boys. Whoever did this crime is not from us. Please give the evidence to us and we promise, we’ll thoroughly “INVESTIGATE” it. (But they won’t talk about their proven track records from their previous “INVESTIGATIONS”!).

      Can a rape victim provide evidence and expect to get justices from the culprit? What are they thinking? Are they living in their imaginary world?

    • 3
      4

      You have contacts???
      Which terror group?

  • 7
    2

    “In 2017, disciplinary action has been taken against 33 members of the Police for assault and torture and while only one officer was dismissed. Disciplinary matter pertaining to 100 Police Officers are pending…. “ – From the above article.

    This is enough proof that assault and torture are common place in Sri Lanka. So saying Sri Lanka does not tolerate any form of torture is just a lip service. Reading the Secretary’s letter is more proof that the AP article is right on facts.

    Thank you Mr. Kariyawasam for clarifying the facts.

  • 9
    2

    Mr Kariyawasam

    These are weasel words and hogwash. Of course you have to put up a token ‘defence’ for your paymasters. The simple fact is that the GOSL has got away with literally murder when it needed to. Outstanding matters re 1971, 1983, and 1987-89 (and others) have been swept under the carpet. Whether investigating the crimes of others or its own, the GOSL has allowed political expediency to determine the outcome.The island is heavily militarised but para military forces operate with the blessings from the highest. The stock defence of every government has cited ‘security’ or ‘foreign interference’. It keeps the hounds at bay, and proves a vote-winner with the gullible public.

    • 4
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      Spring Koha

      What is the difference between a liar and an incompetent liar?

      No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar – Abraham Lincoln.

      He also said “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

      Are the Sri Lankans especially the functionaries, crooked politicians, … and their professional liars think they are too smart to be able to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes?

      Foreigners have their own sources with in the state machinery to tip off every little incident.

      • 2
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        Native Vedda

        Incompetent liars? We have loads of them, they get caught the moment they open their big mouths. The really good liars get the chance to be spokesmen: for the government, the armed forces, the police…in fact they have their own training schools. The best liar from memory was the guy at the Peace Secretariat. (Peace? surely they were having a laugh.) Some of our best politicians were unable to open their mouths without weaving a web of lies.

        True, foreigners do have their own sources….Some of our best enforcers were able to carry out missions alone and without witness. Before the 1990’s we had to rely on word of mouth. Since the 90’s we have both voice, photographic and video evidence of most of the deeds done. Most Sri Lankan like to boast and that makes it quite easy.

  • 10
    2

    Mr. Kariyawasam seems to ignore the fact that it is an AP research article that is shared by media across the world, especially the US, UK and Indian media, and that no one will buy his balderdash.

    There are even many Sinhalese victims of such abuse, as brought out by the Asian Human Rights Commission and Mr. Basil Fernando.

    The world knows that Sri Lanka has done nothing against military and police atrocities. Indeed, by saying no action will be taken against ‘war heroes, ‘ both the President and Prime Minister are condoning and enabling continued torture and abuse. A day of reckoning will come one way or another.

    • 6
      2

      Agnos,

      One definition of an ambassador is ‘one who lies for his country abroad’. This is what our foreign ministry nabobs sign up to.

      Effectively, HMV (His Manthrithuma’s Voice) – Poor Ambassador Kariyawasam has to say what he is told regardless of whether he knows the truth or not, in order to defend devious politicians who need to save the skins of the ‘Ranaviru’ regardless of whether they were officers and gentlemen (mostly) or psychopathic bastards.

      Where did Richmond go wrong?

  • 2
    1

    Native Vedda

    Incompetent liars? We have loads of them, they get caught the moment they open their big mouths. The really good liars get the chance to be spokesmen: for the government, the armed forces, the police…in fact they have their own training schools. The best liar from memory was the guy at the Peace Secretariat. (Peace? surely they were having a laugh.) Some of our best politicians were unable to open their mouths without weaving a web of lies.

    True, foreigners do have their own sources….Some of our best enforcers were able to carry out missions alone and without witness. Before the 1990’s we had to rely on word of mouth. Since the 90’s we have both voice, photographic and video evidence of most of the deeds done. Most Sri Lankan like to boast and that makes it quite easy.

  • 3
    1

    The sad fate of all politicians -the total loss of integrity.

  • 3
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    Mr. K.

    SL does not tolerate torture? Yet kill, kill, kill is ok? The Special Task Force just shot an innocent youth in Jaffna for no reason.Thanks for the new cc TVs they were traced for the first time hiding in their camp. Routine behavior. This is happening every quarter or less.

    Without blinking an eye you write all of this to hoodwink the whole world and that too in the whitewash of human rights?

    OMG. Richmond College, Galle was founded by a very holy man named Rev. Darrell, who died nursing those thrown out onto the streets with cholera. Have you not once looked into his eyes in his photograph hanging in your school? Rev. Darrell gave free education to C. W. W Kannangara in his school because CWW’s mother was too poor- thus leading by example.

    Please play the man, PK and come out clean.

  • 4
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    But we torture. We had Abu Graib. That was nothing. We ships in deep sea waters torturing people. Water boarding is not torture. President Trump endorses Torture. This is absurd. Saudis Torture too. We send people to Poland and Romania who get lots of money from us to rendition people for us. That way we circumvent Congress and laws in the USA. We send them to Egypt too. Also we kill a lot of civilians when we go after ISIS targets.

    • 3
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      Micah

      This is all good stuff. And probably true. But why do we in Sri Lanka have to follow, copy or excuse the latest depravity that other countries practice?

      Why cannot Sri Lanka set its own (high) standards and try to keep up to them? Why cannot we not break the pestilential cycle of shit and corruption.

      Respice Finem, Esto Perpetua, Disce aut discede and all that; For what?

      • 2
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        No! You must thank Mica for confirming the article in of November 8th in New York times about torture by Sri Lankan Govt. is true and Mr. Prasad Karyawasam is wrong. Which Executive in Sri Lanka can understand how to bring dignity and improve the living standard of its citizens now and for their future generation. If they know and understand how to make good, they wouldn’t have missed the golden opportunity offered for an international inquiry for war crimes in the first place. Sri Lanka never fail to go down the precipice. The top Executives are good in escalating new calamities to hide previous calamities and establish new frauds to hide fraudulent friends in politics.

  • 2
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    Native Vedda

    Take it easy old chap, the cut and paste has been disabled by the new guy who joined recently – the same chap who disabled Trumpooos Twitter account when he left his last employment.

    You gotta laugh: Now keep calm and write on. You can do it!

  • 2
    0

    Prasad is doing what he is expected to do.
    The SL he portrays is the SL we dream. Unfortunately readers know that his portrayal is a dream.

  • 2
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    I hope the Editor of The New York Times would publish this denial of the Secretary/ Foreign Affairs.
    The readers of the New York Times could then decide either to laugh or to cry!

    • 0
      0

      Isn’t it a courtesy to publish what any ambassador writes, whatever its merit?

      It would surely appear in the NYT, and you know who alone in this whole world would believe it all?

  • 1
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    The same news appeared in “The Guardian”
    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/nov/08/tamil-men-accuse-sri-lanka-of-rape-torture
    Get someone to post the “reply” Prasad!

  • 4
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    Sri Lanka doesn’t tolerate torture…..but highly recommend it

    • 5
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      Rajash, they highly recommend it and secretly carry it out inside the 4th floor. I wonder who this lowlife Prasad Kariyawasam is kidding?

  • 5
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    This loser Prasad Kariyawasm said this with a straight face? What bull, joker. Somebody should catch this bugger and give him the 4th floor treatment. Then he will realize.

  • 3
    3

    The author is supposed to be Secretary in Foreign Ministry but I am told poor man after swabasha education needs a writer and he found one fat ageing woman very close to him to do the job of writing.The stuff the woman has written is so poor anyway.
    The other thing is the article is reply to what was published in New York newspaper.Upto now that paper has not published the reply.So what is the use?However he has released it to the SL media.I think Kariyawasam the government employee has now becoming a politician seeking cheap political mile age.

    • 3
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      Aiyo – after reading your comment – i decided to read the full letter.
      Basically the letter is poorly written as you point out. and what more the letter implieds there is torture in Sri Lanka particulary agaiasnt Tamils civilias
      apologies for any spelling mistake…… auto correct is disabled in CT

  • 0
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    No torture? Haven’t you heard of Batalanda? How about torture chamber of Udugampola? BTW where is that criminal.? Anybody knows?

    • 1
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      Percy

      What about Udugampola?
      In September 2011 he converted to SLFP brand of Sinhala/Buddhism along with a hundred of his admirers.

      He did a runner to Hindia, lived there for a few years and returned to the island only after the assassination of Ranasinghe Premadasa. Probably he must have shared his bed with Somawansa Amarasinghe who was also holidaying in Hindia on an asylum visa.

  • 3
    1

    Kariyawasam is immune as a diplomat in law. But, hopefully the Buddhism as state religion government has appointed a true Buddhist as diplomat. Does he not add to his karma by lying? Do the Mahanayakkas also support these lies? How about the courts around the world who have found that there is a well founded fear of torture in Sri Lanka and countless reports about such torture? How much does Kariwasam get paid to lie. He should change his name to Kariwasam as Kariyawasam is a Tamil name and Tamils do get tortured in `sri lanka.

  • 0
    2

    Kariavasam, Don’t try to hoodwink the world. We know that Srilankan forces are known for their rape and torture. Plenty of evidence is available to prove the point. The army should quit the occupation the North. No Democracy allows army rule.

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