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May 28, 2017 [GMT]
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Jayasuriya accused of running “Joseph Camp” torture chamber
[Thursday 2017-03-16 18:00]

Sri Lanka’s former army commander, currently Ambassador to Brazil, has been accused of allegedly operating an army camp at the end of the country’s civil war where extremely brutal torture was routine.
General Jagath Jayasuriya was the commander of the Wanni Security Force Headquarters in Vavuniya, more commonly know as “Joseph Camp”, from August 2007 till mid July 2009, the International Truth and Justice Project (ITPJ) claimed.

Sri Lanka’s former army commander, currently Ambassador to Brazil, has been accused of allegedly operating an army camp at the end of the country’s civil war where extremely brutal torture was routine. General Jagath Jayasuriya was the commander of the Wanni Security Force Headquarters in Vavuniya, more commonly know as “Joseph Camp”, from August 2007 till mid July 2009, the International Truth and Justice Project (ITPJ) claimed.

  

“There is no way General Jagath Jayasuriya can claim not to have known that torture routinely occurred in his camp; there were purpose built underground torture chambers equipped with manacles, chains and pulleys for hoisting victims upside down,” said ITJP Executive Director, Yasmin Sooka, “If the detainees could hear each other screaming at night from adjacent buildings, so could he.” The ITJP’s new report, replete with sketches of cells and interrogation rooms drawn by survivors, is based on the sworn testimony of 46 people which is also corroborated by 92 other cases of torture in this site which have been reported by other groups. The ITJP says it has documented 6 torture cases that occurred under the Sirisena Government in Sri Lanka – the most recent in December 2016.

Witnesses provided ITJP with searing testimony of torture in Joseph Camp that included rape with objects such as cricket wickets and glass bottles, as well as in two cases barbed wire inserted inside a pipe and then withdrawn to tear the flesh of the rectum. All of the women and 18 of the men described being raped and sexually violated; one Tamil man was left distraught after soldiers tried to force him to rape a female cadre detained with him. One of several Tamil informers interviewed who were forced to work with military intelligence said soldiers boasted to him of raping at least 15 Tamil women each. Most victims in this illegal detention site were kept naked in dirty dark cells often underground.

In the report the South Africa based rights group says it has scores of names and photographs of alleged perpetrators of torture and rape from Joseph Camp, several of whom have been positively identified by their victims. One alleged rapist is said to have been a Major in military intelligence; another senior officer ran abduction teams operating out of Joseph Camp at the end of the war but was sent abroad as a UN peacekeeper in 2015 despite the vetting procedures. “This clearly shows Sri Lanka cannot be trusted to vet their own peacekeepers if they think a man with this career history is the kind of person to send abroad,” said Ms Sooka.

The South Africa based human rights group is now calling for a thorough investigation of Joseph Camp by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and the Committee Against Torture as well as the immediate recall of General Jayasuriya from his post in Brazil pending investigation. The retired General is also accredited to Argentina, Columbia, Chile, Peru and Suriname. Another army General who ran Joseph Camp from 2009-2011, Kamal Gunaratne, was also sent as deputy Ambassador to Brazil before retiring.

  
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Government urged to prosecute alleged war criminals
[Saturday 2017-05-27 19:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena should start prosecuting alleged war criminals not promoting them, said the International Truth and Justice Project on the release of the first of its dossiers on alleged perpetrators. The ITJP’s document implicates the former Chief of Army Staff, Jagath Dias, in attacks on civilians and hospitals in the final phase of the civil war in 2008-9.



New Constitution wording raises the heat
[Saturday 2017-05-27 19:00]

TNA leader R. Sampanthan has demanded that the transliteration of Sinhala word, ‘akeeya’ be incorporated into the proposed draft constitution (English version) in place of word, ‘unitary’. MP Sampanthan reacted angrily to Minister Nimal Siripalala de Silva’s response that such a position wasn’t realistic. Political sources told The Island that Minister de Silva had explained the pivotal importance of taking forward the constitutional making process without fighting over words. The issue came up at an all-party meeting to discuss constitutional reforms on Thursday.



Indian Navy joins flood relief operations in Sri Lanka Top News
[Saturday 2017-05-27 19:00]

India has sent navy ships with rescue and relief material to Sri Lanka, where torrential rains and landslides have resulted in several deaths and massive devastation over the last two days. INS Kirch operating in South Bay of Bengal, has been diverted to Colombo in Sri Lanka to render immediate assistance in flood relief operations. According to reports, the ship will enter Colombo anytime soon. Additionally, INS Jalashwan shall sail out from Visakhapatnam today with HADR (Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief) stores which include victualling, clothing, medicines and water.



US to send emergency assistance
[Saturday 2017-05-27 19:00]

US Ambassador in Sri Lanka Atul Keshap today said the people of his country would send emergency assistance worth Rs.15 million for immediate relief to those affected by the floods and landslides in Sri Lanka. In a tweet, the Ambassador said the relief goods would be provided via the offices of the USAID and the US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). He also said thoughts and prayers of the US Embassy team are with the loved ones of those who lost lives and with all affected by floods and landslides.



Airman, who fell off helicopter during rescue ops, dies
[Saturday 2017-05-27 19:00]

A 37-year- old SLAF airman, YMS Yaparathna, who had fallen off a helicopter while conducting a rescue operation at the Neluwa area in Galle yesterday morning, passed away due to the abdominal injuries he sustained in the fall at around 8.30pm yesterday, hospital sources confirmed. The airman and two individuals, who were being rescued, who were injured when they fell from a Mi17 helicopter in Neluwa, Galle yesterday morning, were admitted to the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital.



Over 800 troops, 28 Navy teams, six helicopters in rescue missions
[Saturday 2017-05-27 19:00]

The Sri Lankan Army has deployed more than 800 troops to aid the victims in flood and landslide affected areas, Military Spokesman Brigadier Roshan Seneviratne said. The troupes are currently operating in Morawaka, Deyiyandara, Palindanuwara, Padukka, Brigadier Seneviratne also said. “A special team has been deployed to rescue the people in the landslide affacted areas in Bulathsinhala,” he also said. Six armoured vehicles were also deployed to the affected areas.



Rains and floods: Death toll exceeds 55 Top News
[Friday 2017-05-26 17:00]

The death toll from floods and landslides caused by the torrential rain had exceeded more than 55 by noon today. Kalutara District Secretariat Field Officer told Daily Mirror that 38 deaths were reported from the Kalutara District alone. In its situation report, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said a total of 7,856 individuals (2,811 families) were affected in the Sabaragamuwa, Western and Southern Provinces due to the torrential rains.



Parliament closed, MPs rush to flood-affected areas
[Friday 2017-05-26 17:00]

Party leaders today decided to end Parliament sessions at 2 p.m. to allow the MPs to supervise rescue operations and distribution of relief among flood and landslide victims. The decision to end sessions early was made as MPs from the Opposition and the Government benches urged for swift action to help victims of landslides and floods. Leader of the Joint Opposition Parliamentary Group Dinesh Gunawardane said immediate action had to be taken to provide assistance to the victims of what seemed to be the worst floods since 2003.



Brig. remanded over Rathupaswela killings
[Friday 2017-05-26 17:00]

Brigadier Anura Deshapriya Gunawardene was arrested yesterday for allegedly ordering troops in 2013 to open fire on a group of people protesting against the contamination of their wells at Rathupaswela. The infantryman was produced before Gampaha Chief Magistrate D.A. Ruwanpathirana and remanded til May 31. In March 2017, three soldiers were arrested for shooting civilians. Three persons succumbed to their injuries. Police said that the CID had taken the Brigadier into custody. Army headquarters sources said that Gunawardene, Deputy Director, Infantry, had been taken into custody when he reported to CID as requested to make a statement.



Opposition Leader meets Swedish Ambassador
[Friday 2017-05-26 17:00]

A meeting was held between the Leader of the Opposition R.Sampanthan and the Swedish Ambassador to India, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka Harold Sandberg today in the Opposition Leaders’ office in the parliament Complex. The Opposition Leader apprised the Ambassador on the current political situation in the country and he highlighted the challenges Tamil people face in the North and East.



Govt has released 5,000 acres of land to people in N/E: Kiriella
[Friday 2017-05-26 17:00]

The Unity Government has released 5,000 acre of land in the Northern and Eastern Provinces to the people, said Leader of the House and Highways and Higher Education Minister Lakshman Kiriella in Parliament yesterday. He added that everything was ready to release another extent of another 3,000 acres to the people in the N/E.



Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry complains to CID about fake twitter account of Minister
[Friday 2017-05-26 17:00]

Sri Lanka's new Foreign Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake lodged a complaint with the police to requesting a probe into a false Twitter account in his name after it posted a fake news about the death of former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. In a letter to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Karunanyake's secretary Sisira Wijesinghe said a twitter account "SriLankaMFA", which claimed to be Minister Karunanayake's official account, was a fake account and it had falsely claimed the passing away of the former Indian Prime minister.



Rathupaswala shooting: Army Brigadier arrested
[Thursday 2017-05-25 18:00]

Police said the CID today arrested Brigadier Anura Deshapriya Gunawardena who was alleged to have led an army contingent to Rathupaswala to quell a protest by residents pleading for safe drinking. Three people were shot dead and 33 protesters injured on August 1, 2013. Police said a 14-year-old student was among those killed in the shooting. Earlier, the CID had arrested three army personnel, a staff sergeant and two corporals in connection wit the shooting.They were later remanded. Police said the Brigadier was to produced in the Gampaha Magistrate's Court today.



Several teams out to arrest Ven. Gnanasara: Police
[Thursday 2017-05-25 18:00]

Several police teams were deployed to arrest Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary the Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera on charges of disturbing, obstructing and threatening police officers and committing acts bound to cause racial and religious disharmony among various communities. DIG Priyantha Jayakody in a statement said that following a request made by the Police, the Hulftsdorp No: 4 Magistrate issued a court order preventing the Thera from leaving the country. He said there were several com-plaints lodged against him and the Thera had not reported to the Police Organized Crime Division when summoned to do so.



Sri Lankan President and Australian PM agree to enhance bilateral cooperation Top News
[Thursday 2017-05-25 18:00]

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, who is on a three-day state visit to Australia, met Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the National Parliament building in Canberra on Thursday and held bilateral discussions. The two leaders, after concluding a one-on-one round of talks, held bilateral discussions, in which ministers and officials from both sides participated.



Govt. to fill approximately 1,000 vacancies in North: Sagala Ratnayake
[Thursday 2017-05-25 18:00]

The Government will take immediate measures to fill approximately 1,000 vacancies in the North to address the unemployment issue in the area, Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake informed Parliament yesterday. The minister was replying to an Adjournment Motion moved by Opposition Leader R Sampanthan on the unemployment of youth in the North and East. The minister told Parliament that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe visited Jaffna over the weekend and had lengthy discussions on the matter of unemployment of youth.



New security measures at Colombo International Airport
[Thursday 2017-05-25 18:00]

New regulations have been introduced according to the regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organization to enhance the security at Sri Lanka's Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake. That new regulations will be effective from the first of June, the Airport Security Services announced. According to new regulations, volume of liquid that passengers can carry in their hand luggage on board the plane will be limited. The liquids will also include volatile liquids and gels.



FCID seeks AG’s advice on Karuna Amman case
[Thursday 2017-05-25 18:00]

The FCID informed Courts today that they have sought Attorney General’s advice regarding future legal steps to be taken regarding former Deputy Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralidharan alias Karuna Amman’s case on the allegation against misusing a Presidential Secretariat bullet proof armed vehicle worth Rs.90 million.



Three bench Trial-at-bar to hear Vidya murder
[Wednesday 2017-05-24 18:00]

Chief Justice Priyasath Dep has appointed a three member bench to hear the schoolgirl Sivaloganathan Vidya murder case. The three member bench headed by High Court Judge Balendran Sashi Mahendran comprises Judges Annalingam Premashankar and Manickavasagar Chelian as its other members. The Chief Justice has also decided that the case should be heard in the Jaffna High Court. The Chief Justice has appointed the three Judge bench after the Attorney General published information in the Jaffna High Court and took steps under the Criminal Procedure Code and informed him in writing about it.



Plans to develop Jaffna into Strategic City: Ranawaka
[Wednesday 2017-05-24 18:00]

Jaffna will be developed into a strategic city under the government’s Cities of the Future Programme, Megapolis and Western Development Minister Champika Ranawaka said on Monday. He said the government is setting the agenda for the management of future cities, and Jaffna will be developed into a strategic city conforming to the plans of envisioned future city management strategy. "The envisioned development will take place starting this year, "Minister Ranawaka said. He said plans are being finalised to take Jaffna forward as a strategic economic, technical, cultural, social and democratic centre.


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