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WikiLeaks: Forced Removals Of Tamils Is A Police Plan – Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe to US

Posted by on Feb 18th, 2012 and filed under Info. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

By Colombo Telegraph -

“Military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe (strictly protect) told us that the idea for the forced removals came from the police, not the Army, which was not in favor of the plan. However, Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa gave the orders to proceed with the police plan. On June 6 and 7, the Army helped police round up Tamils from approximately 20 hostels in Colombo.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database. The cable is classified as “SECRET” and discuses the removal of non-Colombo based Tamils temporarily residing in Colombo lodges and hostels . The cable was written by the Ambassador Robert O. Blake and classified by A/DCM Robert Gabor.

The cable, dated June 8,2007, updated the Secretary of State on the eviction and asked strictly protect Military Spokesman Prasad Samarasinghe as their source.

The Ambassador wrote “Speaking before the Supreme Court stayed the Ministry of Defense’s order, Samarasinghe told us confidentially that the original plan was to suspend the action on Friday, June 8, while Parliament is in session, but pursue the removals with renewed vigor over the weekend. It is not clear what impact the Supreme Court’s stay will have on plans to continue the removals on Saturday and Sunday.”

“On June 8 the Sri Lanka Supreme Court stayed the removal of non-Colombo based Tamils temporarily residing in Colombo lodges and hostels (ref A). The Court ruled in favor of a Fundamental Rights Application filed by the NGO Center for Policy Alternatives (CPA). Military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe (strictly protect) told us that the idea for the forced removals came from the police. Although the Army was not in favor, Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa gave the order to proceed. Samarasinghe said the original plan was to suspend the roundups on Friday, June 8, but pursue them with renewed vigor over the weekend. It is not clear what impact the Supreme Court’s stay will have on plans to continue the removals on Saturday and Sunday. In the meantime, at least a couple of hundred Tamils are being housed inside a school in Vavuniya without adequate water or sanitation. The Red Cross is helping to care for them. There were unconfirmed reports the GSL planned to move many Tamils across the Forward Defense Line through the Omanthai checkpoint into the Tiger-controlled Vanni. Although the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) stated that the people would be welcomed in the Vanni, they denied that there have been contacts with the GSL on this subject. Numerous members of Parliament, including several moderate members of the governing coalition, have objected to the Government’s actions. Embassy issued a press release calling for an immediate halt to further deportations.” Blake further wrote.

Related news; WikiLeaks: A Top Sri Lankan Major General Is A US Informer

Below we give the relevant part of the cable;

VZCZCXRO9615
OO RUEHBI RUEHLMC
DE RUEHLM #0820/01 1591020
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 081020Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6213
INFO RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN PRIORITY 0450
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 0171
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 7152
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 5259
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3807
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 1054
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 3879
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 1112
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 2964
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 7740
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 5402
RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO PRIORITY 0230
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 2102
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 03 COLOMBO 000820 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INS
MCC FOR S GROFF, D TETER, D NASSIRY AND E BURKE 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/08/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER PHUM MOPS CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA: SUPREME COURT STAYS ORDER EXPELLING
TAMILS FROM COLOMBO LODGES 

REF: A. COLOMBO 809 

     B. COLOMBO 805 

Classified By: A/DCM ROBERT GABOR, FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 

1.  (S) SUMMARY:  On June 8 the Sri Lanka Supreme Court
stayed the removal of non-Colombo based Tamils temporarily
residing in Colombo lodges and hostels (ref A).  The Court
ruled in favor of a Fundamental Rights Application filed by
the NGO Center for Policy Alternatives (CPA).  Military
spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe (strictly protect)
told us that the idea for the forced removals came from the
police.  Although the Army was not in favor, Defense
Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa gave the order to proceed. 

SIPDIS
Samarasinghe said the original plan was to suspend the
roundups on Friday, June 8, but pursue them with renewed
vigor over the weekend.  It is not clear what impact the
Supreme Court's stay will have on plans to continue the
removals on Saturday and Sunday.  In the meantime, at least a
couple of hundred Tamils are being housed inside a school in
Vavuniya without adequate water or sanitation.  The Red Cross
is helping to care for them.  There were unconfirmed reports
the GSL planned to move many Tamils across the Forward
Defense Line through the Omanthai checkpoint into the
Tiger-controlled Vanni.  Although the Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam (LTTE) stated that the people would be welcomed
in the Vanni, they denied that there have been contacts with
the GSL on this subject.  Numerous members of Parliament,
including several moderate members of the governing
coalition, have objected to the Government's actions.
Embassy issued a press release calling for an immediate halt
to further deportations.  END SUMMARY. 

SUPREME COURT STAYS THE MINISTRY OF DEFENSE ORDER
--------------------------------------------- ---- 

2.  (C)  On June 8 the Sri Lanka Supreme Court stayed the
Ministry of Defense (MoD) verbal directive to round up and
remove non-Colombo based Tamils staying in Colombo lodges and
hostels.  The text of the Supreme Court order has not been
released, but Attorney Mohan Balendra told us that the order
does not affect those Tamils already removed, except that
they may possibly be allowed to return to Colombo.  It is
unclear whether the Supreme Court's stay is a permanent order
or a temporary stay pending further hearing.  In any case,
the Supreme Court has made an initial finding that that the
forced removal of Tamils from Colombo violates Sri Lanka's
Constitution. 

3.  (C) Supreme Court Chief Justice Sarah Nanda Silva,
appointed by former President Chandra Kumaratunga in 1999,
also has political ties to the Sinhalese chauvinist, Marxist
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP, or People's Liberation
Front).  As Chief Justice, Silva has the power to decide
which three of the five Supreme Court Justices will hear any
particular matter before the Court.  The JVP has consistently
argued that Tamils in the Tiger-held Vanni were prisoners of
the LTTE, and that it was the duty of the Sri Lankan
government to liberate them.  The JVP joined opposition
parties such as the United National Party and the Tamil
National Alliance to condemn the government's forced removal
of Tamils.  In this case, it appears that Chief Justice Silva
has aligned himself with the JVP political ideology, rather
than with President Rajapaksa. 

MILITARY NOT ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT ENFORCING THE ORDER
--------------------------------------------- ------ 

4.  (S) Military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe
(strictly protect) told us that the idea for the forced 

COLOMBO 00000820  002 OF 003 

removals came from the police, not the Army, which was not in
favor of the plan.  However, Defense Secretary Gothabaya
Rajapaksa gave the orders to proceed with the police plan.
On June 6 and 7, the Army helped police round up Tamils from
approximately 20 hostels in Colombo.  Speaking before the
Supreme Court stayed the Ministry of Defense's order,
Samarasinghe told us confidentially that the original plan
was to suspend the action on Friday, June 8, while Parliament
is in session, but pursue the removals with renewed vigor
over the weekend.  It is not clear what impact the Supreme
Court's stay will have on plans to continue the removals on
Saturday and Sunday.
BLAKE

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