23 September, 2020

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WikiLeaks: According To Observers Gota’s And Mohan Pieris’s Private Security Firm Case Links Grenade Attacks To Weliamuna

By Colombo Telegraph

“On Saturday September 27, 2008 at approximately 11:30 p.m., two grenades were thrown at the residence of Mr. J.C. Weliamuna in Kohuwela, a Colombo suburb. Weliamuna is a well-known human rights lawyer and also Director of Transparency International (Sri Lanka). One of the two grenades detonated, causing damage to the residence. The other failed to explode and was recovered by police.” The US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

Weliamuna and CJ Shirani

A Leaked ‘Confidential’ US diplomatic cable, dated September 28, 2008, updated the Secretary of State regarding throwing two grenades at the residence of a well-known human rights lawyer and the Director of Transparency International (Sri Lanka) J.C. Weliamuna. The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database. The cable is signed by the US Ambassador to Colombo Robert Blake.

The ambassador Blake wrote “Media reports, however, called attention to Weliamuna’s role in a fundamental rights case filed by Siyaguna Kosgodage Anton Sugath Nishantha Fernando alleging torture by several police officers who had him in custody at the Negombo police station. Subsequently, on September 20, 2008, two persons on a motorcycle shot him dead while he was driving his van, accompanied by his 11 year old son. At the most recent hearing of this case on September 26, the Supreme Court directed the Attorney-General to instruct the police Special Investigation Unit to inquire into the incident. Another lawyer who appeared against the same police officers in a related trial in the High Court in Negombo had earlier received threats.”

“Other observers pointed to a fundamental rights case Weliamuna was involved in questioning the setting-up of a private security firm to provide protection for government offices. The officers of the new company were listed as Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, former Treasury Secretary P. B. Jayasundera, and attorney Mohan Peiris (an attorney who serves as an advisor to the Defense Secretary). Others thought that the recent ranking of Sri Lanka as 92nd in the world in government transparency could have angered important people.” Blake further wrote.

Placing a comment Blake wrote; “Several organizations, including Transparency International itself, the Sri Lanka Bar Association, and the National Peace Council condemned the attack on Weliamuna’s residence. Embassy also received a message from the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission deploring the attack and requesting an intervention with the authorities. It is probable that elements of the security forces, most likely rogue police, were involved in the attack. Although the Asian Human Rights Commission hinted darkly that “the Ministry of Defense in recent times have acquired notoriety for engaging in all kinds of abuses of human rights,” we have no direct evidence that more senior officials were involved. Still, this sort of incident is all too common in Sri Lanka, where nearly all attempts to hold law enforcement or military personnel accountable for human rights abuses have been frustrated over the last several decades. The Committee to Protect Journalists has just ranked Sri Lanka fifth worst in the world in terms of official impunity. Weliamuna and other attorneys courageous enough to take on these sorts of cases know well the risks they run, but the authors of the attack may also have intended to send a message to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court or other judges about the potential consequences of ordering investigations into the conduct of the security forces. There are a considerable number of similar cases of intimidation or elimination of witnesses in sensitive human rights or corruption cases.”

Related posts;

Romesh de Silva, Jayampathi Wickramaratne, MA Sumanthiran And JC Weliamuna Receive Threatening Letters

Read the cable below for further details;

VZCZCXRO3807
PP RUEHBI
DE RUEHLM #0907/01 2731129
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 291129Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8717
INFO RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 1080
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 8081
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 6276
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4543
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 2295
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 4511
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 3615
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 8705
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI 6122
RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO 0758
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2956
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 000907 

SIPDIS 

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/29/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER PHUM MOPS CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA: GRENADE ATTACK AGAINST HOME OF HUMAN
RIGHTS AND ANTI-CORRUPTION ATTORNEY 

Classified By: DCM JAMES R. MOORE, FOR REASONS: 1.4(b,d). 

¶1.  (U) On Saturday September 27, 2008 at approximately 11:30
p.m., two grenades were thrown at the residence of Mr. J.C.
Weliamuna in Kohuwela, a Colombo suburb.  Weliamuna is a
well-known human rights lawyer and also Director of
Transparency International (Sri Lanka).  One of the two
grenades detonated, causing damage to the residence. The
other failed to explode and was recovered by police. 

¶2.  (C) Weliamuna, a long-time contact of the Embassy, told
us that he had received no prior warning, and that he was in
his residence with his family when the grenade exploded.
Weliamuna added that about ninety percent of his legal
caseload consists of "extremely sensitive" human rights and
official corruption cases.  He thought that the attack
against his residence was symptomatic of recent trends.  He
requested serious intervention in regard to the
investigations and to show concern. 

¶3.  (SBU) In addition to the physical evidence of both the
exploded and unexploded grenades, some of Weliamuna's recent
cases may provide some clues as to the identity of the
perpetrators.  Weliamuna has been representing J.S.
Tissanaiyagam and two other journalists in their arrest and
detention cases under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
Weliamuna has also been involved in preparing the dossier in
the case challenging the privatization of the Sri Lanka
Insurance Corporation. 

¶4.  (SBU) Media reports, however, called attention to
Weliamuna's role in a fundamental rights case filed by
Siyaguna Kosgodage Anton Sugath Nishantha Fernando alleging
torture by several police officers who had him in custody at
the Negombo police station.  Subsequently, on September 20,
2008, two persons on a motorcycle shot him dead while he was
driving his van, accompanied by his 11 year old son.  At the
most recent hearing of this case on September 26, the Supreme
Court directed the Attorney-General to instruct the police
Special Investigation Unit to inquire into the incident.
Another lawyer who appeared against the same police officers
in a related trial in the High Court in Negombo had earlier
received threats. 

¶5.  (C) Other observers pointed to a fundamental rights case
Weliamuna was involved in questioning the setting-up of a
private security firm to provide protection for government
offices.  The officers of the new company were listed as
Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, former Treasury
Secretary P. B. Jayasundera, and attorney Mohan Peiris (an
attorney who serves as an advisor to the Defense Secretary).
Others thought that the recent ranking of Sri Lanka as 92nd
in the world in government transparency could have angered
important people. 

¶6.  (U) The U.S. Embassy issued the following statement
concerning the attack on Weliamuna: 

(begin text) 

The United States condemns the September 27 attack on the
residence of the Executive Director of Transparency
International Sri Lanka and well-known human rights attorney
¶J. C. Weliamuna.  The U.S. Embassy commends Mr. Weliamuna's
work as a defender of those who seek to fight corruption,
protect the victims of abuse, and advance the cause of human
rights in Sri Lanka.  We look to the authorities to launch an
immediate investigation and bring the perpetrators of this
crime swiftly to justice.  (end text) 

¶7.  (C) COMMENT:  Several organizations, including
Transparency International itself, the Sri Lanka Bar
Association, and the National Peace Council condemned the
attack on Weliamuna's residence.  Embassy also received a 

COLOMBO 00000907  002 OF 002 

message from the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights
Commission deploring the attack and requesting an
intervention with the authorities.  It is probable that
elements of the security forces, most likely rogue police,
were involved in the attack.  Although the Asian Human Rights
Commission hinted darkly that "the Ministry of Defense in
recent times have acquired notoriety for engaging in all
kinds of abuses of human rights," we have no direct evidence
that more senior officials were involved.  Still, this sort
of incident is all too common in Sri Lanka, where nearly all
attempts to hold law enforcement or military personnel
accountable for human rights abuses have been frustrated over
the last several decades.  The Committee to Protect
Journalists has just ranked Sri Lanka fifth worst in the
world in terms of official impunity.  Weliamuna and other
attorneys courageous enough to take on these sorts of cases
know well the risks they run, but the authors of the attack
may also have intended to send a message to the Chief Justice
of the Supreme Court or other judges about the potential
consequences of ordering investigations into the conduct of
the security forces.  There are a considerable number of
similar cases of intimidation or elimination of witnesses in
sensitive human rights or corruption cases.
BLAKE
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Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    If US knew about this why have they not taken any action against the key suspect who is a US citizen? I think this type of chatter goes on through diplomatic channels but no proper action or results. As long as these people do not harm US interest they are kept on a long leash as they have pledged an oath to the US.

    • 0
      0

      Exactly. As long as vital American interests are not badly harmed USA tolerates corrupt Rajapassa clan. Hypocrites!

      • 0
        0

        The citizens of Sri lanka must not accept Mohan Peris as the CJ and must form a mass movement for his removal – to protect democracy!

    • 0
      0

      Will the Americans initiate any action on their own brief carriers? Everything that happened here including the election of MR as President, killing of VP and the LTTE, consolidating the 18th Amendment on the Constitution, Purging the CJ, killing of all who dissented including the Journos, denying Democracy establishing Dictatorship, have been done with the obvious blessings of the US. It is for the same reason the US conveniently ignore all calls for investigation on War Crimes.

      • 0
        0

        You have been saying the all the times, but I really dont think that Ames are behind the shortsighted decisions made by uneducated president of the country. Can you please add any references to prove your presumptions that america is behind all these ?

        • 0
          0

          Antileela, if not for the blind eye of the Americans where nothing has happenned so far for the excesses committed violating basic Democracy, What is your explanation? There was a time when the country’s economy was booming, funds from the World Lending Agencies were drying up, whereas now the tap is open fully with no restrictions, knowing all the Corruption and Wastage of State Funds. Besides for the very own observations made by them and some eminent individuals, what action have they initiated? Is that why no less a person than Richard Armitage sneaked in to the country and none knew of the visit till long after he had left?

        • 0
          0

          There is some truth in it , Americans are not really concerned of SL human right situation , though they pretend to be ! Americans are more worried about Chinese influence in SL and south Asian region at large. I can bestow one such incident, remember how Bahraini authorities cracked down their own Arab spring , how Saudis sent their troops and armed cars to crush the descent , how brutal was it ? Bahraini authorities never allowed wounded patients to be treated in a hospital , doctors were torched just because they were treating the fatally injured patients, school children were murdered , What did Hilary Clinton do, she just issued usual statements condemning the barbaric act , but at the same time did exactly opposite for Libya .
          US , India will do usual lip service , may be compel to take little tougher stance due to external pressure , but defiantly Australia will collaborate with junta in return for stopping the boats.

          ps. i heard Canada’s foreign minister intends to visit SL , if is it true , it is going to be another Bob car’s visit(Australian FM) .

          • 0
            0

            Srilal, very few understand International intrigue. It is a public secret that the American economy is in debt to the tune of Trillians of dollars. Yet where did the Chinese whose Economy was booming, invest their monies? In the American Economy. Does one believe that the Chinese are fools? No the Chinese Leadership is working hand in glove with the Americans now. That is how after the LTTE was decimated thanks to the Americans, the Chinese and the Indians who have fought two wars, today are sitting side by side working together, with a foot hold given to both in Sri Lanka to explore resources in the region. There is good understanding between the Chinese and the Americans although the public believe otherwise, exactly how the Americnas wants all to believe so. It is therefore easy for the Americans to use China as a defender of Sri Lanka at the UN sessions, without getting involved themselves, leaving the stage open for the Americans to berate Sri Lanka at the UN. There is no govt. anywhere in the world that is free from the clutchers of the US involvement and manipulation for a world order designed by the Americans.

  • 0
    0

    Gota is a US Citizen, according to US laws a citizen of USA can be taken to courts for illegal activities, especially human rights violations, why no one has taken him to courts in the US?

  • 0
    0

    as the above comments are from regular and valuable contributors, I take liberty to ask you wouldn’t it be naive for us to expect a huge machinery such as US state dept. and the machinery of bureaucracy to prosecute an individual like GR (or BR) can act on a confidential cable from US embassy, which gives insights of the inner working of SL leadership ?

    if they were to prosecute they must have irrefutable evidence to meet the requirements of US system and i don’t think I need to write more.

    Besides, these are routine cables coming into US Dept. from several dozens of US emissaries and for us it’s significant, but to US dept?

    However, at the right time in future, all this will stack up against this regime with or without US, for sure.

  • 0
    0

    Who is this J.C.W. He is repenting NGO – also BF Asian Human Rights commission.(small office )I feel very sorry about our country level who are they? They are liking boots of their funding Organizations.They are like pillars of Democracy of Sri Lanka.J.C.W. soon after his higher studies end up in Colombo 7.Basil After 1989 Exile in Hongkong now from his wires sparked no sooner any thing happen in SL ,passed to all over the world.Well done for them.We are the idiots reading their every thing without knowing real facts.They are liking boots of colonial masters. these puppets are appearing every day in press all over the world.Ha-Ha-Ha—-Good luck for them…………..money money money…

    Lanka Watch Dog

    • 0
      0

      Are you the one flown in from Geneva?

  • 0
    0

    The US cannot perform miracles the way the people expect them to. One minute they are criticized, the next they are expected to jump in and solve the problems here. It does not make sense to blame them for what is happening here, and then the scoundrels who people here claim are being protected by the US, turn on the US and claim that they don’t need help from them, when they have China.

    We cannot blame anyone BUT our government, that is the Rajapaksa’s, and our leaders in Parliament.
    They have become one of the the most ruthless, corrupt, bunch in our country, that stifles dissent, silences the media, and rule by thuggery, intimidation, and violence. It is a sad day in any nation when a peace activist is killed for doing his civic duty in complaining about our Police stooping to human rights violations.
    He, like many others, has been silenced for being a patriot.

  • 0
    0

    ltte is out now, gen sarath out, dr.shrihani out, now these sinhalese monks racist are going against muslims, they have started now. if the muslim country start sending buddhist sinhala sri lankans out of the country. sri lankans will beg for funds,aids etc.

    sinhalese racist cannot live them good sinhala people peacefully. monks are thugs in sri lanka.

  • 0
    0

    international intervention is need in sri lanka to solve media freedom, human rights issue, etc sri lanka is going to bad to worst now like the saddam hussain,gadafir regime.

  • 0
    0

    It has now become a fashion for some people to stage grenade attacks to their homes or offices and give wide publicity to the incident stating that it was done by their opponents. Weliamuna, who’s actions are not very Transparent is an expert in this field.

    The thing is that no one gets hurt from these attacks, because they make sure that no one is at home at the time of attack.

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