Colombo Telegraph

WikiLeaks: Justice Minister Hakeem Knows Who The Abductors Are

By Colombo Telegraph –

Minister of Justice Rauff Hakeem

“In recent weeks the Embassy has received several anonymous letters from Muslim groups alleging that they are being targeted for abduction for ransom. One such letter from the ‘Muslim Community in Sri Lanka,’ with no return address, states that ‘within a short period they have kidnapped and collected huge sums from Muslim businessmen.’ Several Muslim leaders have alleged that Muslim businessmen are being targeted for abduction now that most prominent Tamil businessmen have either paid off paramilitary groups or fled the country.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from WikiLeaks database, which details a meeting the US Ambassador to Colombo has had with then Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Rauff Hakeem( Present Justice Minister). The cable is classified as “SECRET” and written by the Ambassador Robert O. Blake on June 19, 2007.

Under the subheading “MUSLIM LEADER STATES ABDUCTIONS COME ‘FROM THE VERY TOP’” the ambassador wrote “Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader and Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Rauff Hakeem (strictly protect) told Ambassador on June 14 that he believed that those carrying out abductions receive ‘patronage from the very top,’ but did not elaborate further. Hakeem stated that he has received many complaints from his constituents recently about abductions for ransom among the Muslim community but that victims were ‘petrified’ to come forward and make a formal complaint. According to Hakeem, some prominent Muslim businessmen have decided to leave Sri Lanka until the threat of abduction subsides. In reference to government-sanctioned abductions of Muslim businessmen for ransom, Hakeem said that the Muslim community ‘has never seen this before.’”

Placing a comment Blake wrote “The negative impact of abductions is spreading beyond the Tamil community and past extra-judicial methods of dealing with possible LTTE supporters into abductions of any minority with a large bank account. Muslim leaders like Rauff Hakeem are increasingly critical of the Rajapaksa administration’s apparent tolerance for abductions, and numerous recent media reports have called attention to the growing trend of Muslim abductions for ransom. The Ambassador met with Foreign Minister Bogollogama on June 13 in part to flag to the Government our concern about this new trend and the need for the GSL to address it”

Below we give the relevant part of the confidential cable;

VZCZCXRO9010
OO RUEHBI RUEHLMC
DE RUEHLM #0861/01 1700544
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 190544Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6287
INFO RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 0214
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 7197
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 5304
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3844
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 1104
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 3915
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 1139
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 3001
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 7783
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 5443
RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO PRIORITY 0260
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 2136
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 000861 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INS AND PM
MCC FOR D NASSIRY AND E BURKE 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/18/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER PHUM MOPS CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA: ABDUCTIONS PLAGUE MUSLIM COMMUNITY 

REF: COLOMBO 842 

Classified By: Ambassador Robert O. Blake, Jr., for reasons 1.4(b,d).
EMBASSY RECEIVES AN INFLUX OF COMPLAINTS
---------------------------------------- 

2.  (C) In recent weeks the Embassy has received several
anonymous letters from Muslim groups alleging that they are
being targeted for abduction for ransom.  One such letter
from the "Muslim Community in Sri Lanka," with no return
address, states that "within a short period they have
kidnapped and collected huge sums from Muslim businessmen."
Several Muslim leaders have alleged that Muslim businessmen
are being targeted for abduction now that most prominent
Tamil businessmen have either paid off paramilitary groups or
fled the country. 

MUSLIM LEADER STATES ABDUCTIONS COME "FROM THE VERY TOP"
--------------------------------------------- ----------- 

3.  (S)  Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader and Minister of
Posts and Telecommunications Rauff Hakeem (strictly protect)
told Ambassador on June 14 that he believed that those
carrying out abductions receive "patronage from the very
top," but did not elaborate further.  Hakeem stated that he
has received many complaints from his constituents recently
about abductions for ransom among the Muslim community but
that victims were "petrified" to come forward and make a
formal complaint.  According to Hakeem, some prominent Muslim
businessmen have decided to leave Sri Lanka until the threat
of abduction subsides.  In reference to government-sanctioned
abductions of Muslim businessmen for ransom, Hakeem said that
the Muslim community "has never seen this before."
6.  (C) COMMENT:  The negative impact of abductions is
spreading beyond the Tamil community and past extra-judicial
methods of dealing with possible LTTE supporters into
abductions of any minority with a large bank account.  Muslim
leaders like Rauff Hakeem are increasingly critical of the
Rajapaksa administration's apparent tolerance for abductions,
and numerous recent media reports have called attention to
the growing trend of Muslim abductions for ransom.  The
Ambassador met with Foreign Minister Bogollogama on June 13
in part to flag to the Government our concern about this new
trend and the need for the GSL to address it (reftel).
BLAKE

Back to Home page