By Feizal Samath -
Investments by Sri Lankan individuals, companies or the Sri Lankan government in secret Swiss accounts totalled more than 85 million Swiss francs (CHF) in 2011 while liabilities listed against Sri Lanka were 44 million in the same year, official data from the Swiss National Bank (SNB) show.
The Swiss franc is higher or equal in value against the US dollar (1CHF = 1.048 US$). SNB is Switzerland’s central bank. However it doesn’t provide details of who owns these assets or liabilities and has listed these data under each country. Swiss secrecy laws protect the identity of the investor/debtor, which is among a host of reasons why much black money or ‘dirty’ money is believed to be stashed by corrupt governments, individuals or businesspersons. (MORE)
Offices of two websites raided by state intelligence apparatus; 7 Journalists and two staff arrested; 6 computers confiscated
This morning around 11.45 am around 25 offices from police intelligence arms, namely Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and Colombo Crime Division (CCD) raided two popular tri lingual news and opinion web site operated form Colombo. They are http://english.srilankamirror.com/ and http://www.srilankaxnews.com/ . Both Sri Lanka Mirror and SriLankaXnews are read by tens of thousands of readers daily.
Sri Lanka Mirror is registered with the information ministry and SriLankaXnews is the official web site of the opposition United National Party. Both of offices we located at 71, Ferry road, Athul Kotte, Kotte, a suburb of Colombo.
Police has obtained a court order to search the premises of both web sites. But the acting police spokesperson Sanjeewa Madawatta has told Yukthiya web site that he dose not have any knowledge of the raid and reasons for it.
Police has surrounded the residence of Mr. Ruwan Ferdinanz, current editorial director of the Sri Lanka X news and former editorial director of the Sri Lanka Mirror and has demanded that he surrender his laptop computer to them. By the time he has left the residence.
The journalists arrested are being questioned at the notorious 4th floor of the Criminal Investigation Department. They are:
- Mr.Kalum Shwantha Rodrigu – Editor SriLanka Mirror
- Ms.Shiwanthi Manawadu 0 Weekend editor, SriLanka Mirror
- Ms.Himashi Karunarathan, Features editor, SriLanka Mirror
- Ms.Tarindu Rajapaksha, Feature writer, SriLanka Mirror
- Mr.Ajith senavirathna, Photo journalist, SriLanka Mirror
- Mr.Zidick Kariyappa, editor, Tamil section, Sri Lanka X news
- Mr.J. Subash Jayawardana, Journalist , Feature writer, Sri Lanka X news
NfR Sri Lanka, a network of Sri Lankan journalists and human rights defenders expresses its serious concern over the recent threats and intimidations directed at Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri, the President of the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) for his trade union activities. FUTA has been campaigning for better remuneration for University teachers and education facilities in the universities. FUTA has also campaigned against the privatisation of the university education. In addition the FUTA has announced a strike by its members demanding the implementation of the agreed salary structure from 4th July 2012.
NfR Sri Lanka views this intimidation of members of the academic community in the country, with alarm and condemns unconditionally those who are behind such dastardly acts. This is clearly a violation of the universally accepted democratic right to dissent, freedom of expression and the right to association.
According to FUTA ‘a group of men claiming to be from the Ministry of Defence have been behaving suspiciously within the neighbourhood of the Secretary of Arts Faculty Teachers’ Associations (FUTA), Dr. Nirmal Ranjith on June 19, 2012. They have questioned the neighbours regarding Dr. Devasiri’s movements and details regarding his family.’ On June 21, Dr. Devasiri has lodged a complaint in this regard at the Maharagama Police Station. He has also received a number of telephone calls threatening him and his family to stop continuing to work as the President of FUTA.
The Sri Lanka Police is notorious for its lethargy in investigating killings, threats and intimidations of human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers and academics. Friday Forum, a concerned group of eminent persons and academics in Sri Lanka has stated that they have requested for a meeting with Inspector General of Police to seek his support towards arresting the culture of impunity, and to request him to take measures to prevent acts of police brutality and the violent repression of public protests. This request has received only ‘an unhelpful bureaucratic response’. In a show of his arrogance and bureaucratic attitude towards civil society, the IGP has not considered it necessary for him to meet the Friday Forum. Regrettably, the IGP has not been able to show any independence whatsoever towards marauding politicians or their henchmen.
While condemning the biased attitude of police towards politically motivated crimes in the country, NfR requests that government to initiate an impartial inquiry into this incident and bring the culprits to book without delay. It is only by doing so that the Government of Sri Lanka can absolve itself from being blamed as being involved in the harassment and intimidation of Dr. Devasiri directly and the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations, indirectly.
Steering Committee, NfR Sri Lanka
Steering committee : Kshama Ranawana ( Canada) Lionel Bopage ( Australia), Nadarasa Sarawanan (Norway), Nadarajah Kuruparan(UK) Padmi Liyanage (Germany), Raveendran Pradeepan (France), Rudhramoorthy Cheran (Canada), Saman Wagaarachchi ( USA), Sunanda Deshapriya ( Switzerland)