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* Sri Lankan President rejects former President's allegations of illegal surveillance
Fri, Mar 21, 2014, 06:55 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 21, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today rejected allegations made by former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga that she was being harassed through illegal surveillance by state intelligence services.

Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, in a letter to the former President,, has responded to the accusations put forward by her toward the Government of harassment through illegal surveillance.

In the letter the President noted that the many allegations made by Ms. Kumaratunga in her letter against the Government, the Police and Intelligence Services of the country, are lacking even a shred of proof to justify such charges of a serious nature

"His Excellency the President wants you to be assured that there is absolutely no surveillance of your telephone and e-mail communications, and of your residences in Colombo and Horagolla," Weeratunga wrote.

President's Secretary said the President also observes that the timing of former President's letter, with an abundance of generalization, is intended to synchronize with the wholly unfair allegations against Sri Lanka being leveled by international forces in Geneva and elsewhere in the West today.

Full text of President's letter to the former President

Her Excellency Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga
Former President

27 Independence Avenue

Colombo 7

Excellency

Harassment of Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga through illegal surveillance

I am directed by His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka to respond to your above captioned letter of March 5, 2014 received in our offices on March 12, 2014.

His Excellency the President notes that the many allegations made by you in this letter against the Government, the Police and Intelligence Services of this country, are lacking in even a shred of proof to justify such charges of a serious nature.

The delay in this response is due to the need to make thorough inquiries about the allegations you have made, to ascertain the authenticity of what has been said, in the absence of the required evidential information, considering the nature of these allegations.

Although you make a number of allegations about the violation of your privacy, causing harassment to you, raising concerns about your personal safety, as well as, violation of your Fundamental Rights and impinging on your freedom of movement and association, His Excellency the President observes that there is a total lack of substance to warrant such allegations. In fact, what is set out is seen as a litany of generalities, marked for being vague and unauthenticated.

His Excellency the President wants you to be assured that there is absolutely no surveillance of your telephone and e‐mail communications, and of your residences in Colombo and Horagolla.

It is seen that the one item on which there is some element of the time of occurrence in your letter, is about your written complaint to the former Inspector General of Police, Mr. Jayantha Wickremeratne, by your said letter of 10th October 2009, with regard to "Visits" said to have been paid to several of your friends by officers who "introduced themselves" as being from the NIB. It is seen that what you have stated causes genuine doubt whether they were in fact officers or were from the NIB (at all). You would agree that it is now several years after this complaint. Therefore, His Excellency the President is surprised that as a former Minister of Defence who had control over the Police Department, you did not bother to inform him at that time of this inadequate response of the IGP, to enable an inquiry to have been held.

With regard to the statements you have made about NIB officers visiting and interrogating the management of hotels you have visited, reporting on who attends such meetings with you, and the alleged fear among hotel managements to the point of your being unable to arrange personal events at hotels, His Excellency the President is of the view that they are not supported by any evidence of time, place or persons. This is the same with your statements about the alleged harassment of your long time friends in the Kurunegala District who you say have cause for similar fears, and the hotel at Anuradhapura where you were with foreign friends. His Excellency the President further notes that none of these accusations stands the test of authenticity for lack of evidence regarding both persons and places, as well as date and time. H.E the President regrets that the absence of such necessary details to substantiate the allegations you make, gives the impression that these are more imaginary than actual, raising concerns about the seriousness of your complaints.

Excellency, you state of a situation of severe emotional and mental stress to you due to the alleged intimidation of your friends and associates that is compounded by the knowledge you claim to have of senior members of "our Party" and "our Government" being asked by H.E the President to desist from talking or associating with you, during the past 8 years of his Presidency. Here too, it is the view of His Excellency that it would have been greatly helpful to establish the veracity of your claim, if even one such person had been named.

His Excellency is most surprised by your reference to the "context of a culture of white vans", as he is of the view that you should know better that such a "culture" arose before your presidency, and continued during your entire presidency. Today, just as this Government has defeated the terrorism that caused so much violence and bloodshed, the white vans too are not any part of the political culture of this country; except in the minds of those who are keen to tarnish the image of this country abroad to suit the agenda of forces abroad that are ranged against this country.

His Excellency emphatically and wholly rejects your reference to a "prevailing practice of destroying anyone who is considered a threat to the higher authorities of your Government, by murder, 'disappearances' physical attacks," leading to "serious reasons" to be concerned about your safety. He sees this as a statement of complete untruth, which is proven by the large number of very prominent persons who are strongly opposed to and openly critical of this Government and those holding the higher offices in Government today. His Excellency notes that political and other social leaders who oppose the policies of this Government are clearly seen to be active today, in the peace and freedom that has been achieved. The allegations that you make in this regard are again seen as being of the same nature as the charges made, both here and abroad, by those who do not wish to see the strengthening of peace and achievement of reconciliation. His Excellency states this should assure you of safety in whatever role you may play in politics today.

His Excellency also wholly rejects the charges made by you in your letter of any violation of your Fundamental Rights to movement and association, as well as the charges of violation of your privacy, causing you any harassment, and giving you any cause for concern with regard to your personal safety. As the Executive President of Sri Lanka, he sees it as his bounden duty to ensure these freedoms to all citizens, and a former Executive President of the country is not excluded in ensuring this reach of Fundamental Freedoms.

With your references to the so‐called activities of the NIB, which he sees as baseless as stated earlier, His Excellency also sees it necessary to remind you how members of your own Presidential Security Division were involved in serious crimes during your term in office. His Excellency is glad there are no such instances to point out today. Also, Excellency, with regard to surveillance you have complained so much about, His Excellency considers it necessary to remind you that although as a former President of the country, you do have an official security detail, it remains the duty of the Police Service to ensure your safety at public places. This is a standard rule both here and abroad. His Excellency, therefore, considers it unwise to be overly sensitive to what you describe as a "calculated strategy of surveillance" directed at you and your associates, and in a manner that appears to have caused stress that is not merited by the reality around you.

His Excellency wishes to convey that the Government is fully aware of the legal provisions under the Police Ordinance with regard to the prevention of crime, and therefore assures you that these provisions are and will be fully implemented against anyone found to be violating the provisions of the law.

In conclusion, His Excellency also observes that the timing of your letter, with an abundance of generalization, is intended to synchronize with the wholly unfair allegations against Sri Lanka being leveled by international forces in Geneva and elsewhere in the West today. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Lalith Weeratunga
Secretary to the President

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