UN urged to visit SLN officers held at Welikada * Detection of suspects

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Former Navy Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera yesterday told The Island that a three-member UN delegation now on a visit here should visit military personnel, including Commodore D. K. P. Dassanayake and Commander Sumith Ranasinghe remanded at the maximum security Welikada Prison over their alleged involvement in wartime abductions.

 

Weerasekera said so after having visited Dassanayake and Ranasinghe, who had been denied bail several times and were recently re-remanded again till January 11, 2018.

 

Weerasekera alleged that the government had been harassing some selected military personnel in a bid to appease the UN. Dassanayake was taken in just before Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson had arrived in the country in early July this year.

 

A three-member delegation from the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention arrived in Colombo on Dec 4 on a 10 day mission to assess the situation.

 

José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez, Leigh Toomey and Elina Steinerte are in the process of visiting prisons, police stations and institutions for juveniles, migrants and people with psychosocial disabilities, to gather first-hand information which will form part of their overall assessment.

 

Office of the UN Working Group in response to a query by The Island said: “The delegation will visit Colombo as well as western, north-central, northern, eastern, southern and central provinces, where they will meet Government officials, civil society groups and other relevant stakeholders.”

 

The experts will share their preliminary observations at a press conference on Friday (15) at 2:00 pm at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH), Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 07.

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