Ajith Perakum Jayasinghe
Swiss foreign ministry has confirmed the incident of the kidnap of a female embassy official by unknown assailants in Sri Lanka. Swissinfo.ch website reported that the Swiss foreign ministry announced in a written statement that the woman had been threatened in order to force her to disclose “embassy-related information”.
“Switzerland promptly reported the incident to the Sri Lankan authorities and is demanding an immediate and complete investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident,” wrote ministry spokesman Pierre-Alain Eltschinger, as reported by swissinfo.ch.
The Sri Lankan ambassador to Switzerland has also been summoned to the foreign ministry in Bern, he added.
Meanwhile, another Swiss website, nzz.ch, stated that Nishantha Silva, a police inspector who investigated about Sri Lanka’s ruling family has fled to Switzerland with his family with the hope of seeking political asylum.
“In the Criminal Investigations Department, Silva investigated corruption cases and serious human rights violations dating back to the presidency of Gotabaya’s older brother Mahinda (2005-2015). The current president, Gotabaya, led the Ministry of Defense as top official and commanded the extermination campaign against the Tamil extremist organization LTTE until 2009. Gotabaya has recently appointed his brother prime minister,” the website reported in the German language. (Google translation)
“Police Inspector Silva identified, inter alia, in the case of 2009 disappeared cartoonist and human rights activist Prageeth Eknaligoda. He also interviewed members of the military who allegedly kidnapped 11 teenagers and extorted ransom from their relatives. Nevertheless, the kidnapped were killed. In some cases, witnesses have directly incriminated members of the Rajapaksa family, especially Gotabaya: he has instructed intelligence officials to silence unpleasant voices. The President elected in mid-November has always denied the allegations. The investigating authorities also targeted Gotabaya for allegations of corruption in connection with armaments business.
“From the environment of the Rajapaksas Silva is charged with politically motivated one-sidedness. Silva, however, has also investigated war atrocities of the LTTE. In professional circles, the volatile top official is considered to have integrity and competence. Sri Lankan media reports that Silva received death threats after the November 26 transfer of power. Nevertheless, the authorities removed his bodyguards. That a return of the Rajapaksa clan could bring the brave investigator in trouble, had already signed in 2018. In a coup d’état, President Sirisena appointed former opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa as head of government. In one of his first acts, Rajapaksa deposed the inspector. Only after the restoration of the constitutional order, Silva could continue his work.” (Google translation)
However, the sources said that the Swiss government had not confirmed the police officer’s entry to the country, staying there and applying for political asylum due to privacy concerns.
The incident brings back the memories of state atrocities prevailed in the country during the rule of the Rajapaksa family before 2015, immediately after their re-election to power in the presidential held on 16th November. No state-suspected abduction, torturing, assassination and disappearance was reported in the nearly five years of rule of the coalition government which was replaced by a government led by Rajapaksa family.
Thanks for the Swiss embassy photo byKeystone / Anthony Anex taken via swissinfo.ch