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* Sri Lanka's Presidential Commission on Disappearances warns of severe action against any intimidation of witnesses
Sun, Feb 16, 2014, 01:03 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 16, Colombo: The Presidential Commission investigating the alleged disappearances of persons in conflict affected areas in Sri Lanka has said that severe action will be taken against any person and institution that attempts to intimidate witnesses.

Chairman of the Presidential Commission, Maxwell Parakrama Paranagama has warned to take severe action if witnesses who appeared before the Commission are intimidated by any person including a government authority.

The Chairman has reportedly made this comment in response to a question posed by the media in Jaffna that there were reports of witnesses who appeared before the Commission being intimidated.

Paranagama has responded saying that he would not hesitate to take action against anyone who threatened the witnesses after they had appeared before the Commission.

The Commission is investigating the alleged abductions or disappearances of people who were residents in the Northern and Eastern Provinces during the period 1990-2009.

The Presidential Commission on Disappearances commenced its first sitting in Jaffna on Friday and the hearing will conclude Monday. The public hearings will be held in Chavakachcheri, Kopay and the Jaffna town.

Secretary of the Commission H.W. Gunadasa has said that the Commission received the highest number of missing cases from Jaffna. The Commission has received 3000-4000 cases from the Jaffna district.

The Commission has received approximately 13,700 complaints from all parts of the country and approximately 9,300 complaints of disappearances are of civilians and 4,300 are of security personnel.

The three-member Commission, comprising Maxwell Parakrama Paranagama (Chairman), Mrs. Priyanthi Suranjana Vidyaratne and Mrs. Mano Ramanathan, has been given the authority to conduct inquiries and investigations necessary, and submit a report to the President.

** Related Story :: Presidential Commission probing disappearances in Sri Lanka begins hearings in Jaffna today

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