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* Sri Lanka's former defense secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa summoned to US courts on torture and murder charges
Mon, Apr 8, 2019, 07:47 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 08, Colombo: Sri Lanka's former defense secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa have been served notices charging him in two cases on torture and murder during war time.

Two cases have been filed in the United States courts against the presidential hopeful of the opposition party Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna and the brother of the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

It has been reported that notice had been formally served on Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, who is a dual citizen of Sri Lanka and the US, on Sunday night at a Trader Joe's parking lot in Pasadena, California while he was on his way to attend an event organized to "Meet the future president" by former Sri Lankan consul in Los Angeles Malraj de Silva.

The two cases have been filed by the daughter of murdered editor Lasantha Wickremetunga and a Tamil torture survivor, Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS) reported.

Slain editor Lasantha Wickrematunge's daughter Ahimsa Wickrematunge has filed a civil case against Gotabhaya Rajapaksa over her father's killing.

The legal papers were filed by Scot Gilmore who also worked on the case of the Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin killed in Syria.

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa instigated and authorized the killing of her father, alleges Ahimsa Wickrematunge in her complaint to court for damages requesting a trial by jury.

Lasantha Wickremetunga, the founding editor of English weekly, Sunday Leader, was killed on January 8, 2009 by four assailants in broad daylight in a suburb of Colombo.

It is widely believed that Wickrematunge was killed after he exposed a controversial MIG aircraft deal that implicated the former defense secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in a kickback scheme.

The second case against the former defense secretary was filed by the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP).

The ITJP had filed a civil damages case in California against Gotabhaya Rajapaksa along with the global law firm Hausfeld, on behalf of a Tamil torture survivor Roy Samathanam.

Samathanam, who is a Canadian national, had filed the complaint in the Central District of California against Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

Samathanam was detained in Colombo in September 2007 by the Terrorism Investigation Division of the Sri Lanka police, who reported directly to Gotabaya Rajapaksa. He was physically and psychologically tortured and forced to sign a false confession before being released in August 2010 on a plea deal and payment of a fine, the ITJP said.

In 2016 Samathanam won a UN human rights committee case but Sri Lanka has failed to abide by the compensation ruling.

 

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