President willing to probe allegations
President Mahinda Rajapaksa says the government will investigate the human rights allegations raised against the island if there is evidence to back those claims.
Speaking to media heads at a breakfast meeting today, the President insisted that the government respects and maintains human rights in Sri Lanka.
He said that fingers are pointed at the government even over normal criminal issues and that is then turned into claims of human rights abuses.
The President said that as a government they reject allegations of mass scale human rights abuses taking place in Sri Lanka.
However he said that if there is evidence to back any allegation then the government will investigate those allegations and act on it under local laws.
The President also said that the police is investigating the attacks on the Jaffna based Uthayan newspaper and action will be taken once the investigations are complete.
The annual human rights report released by the US State Department last week had slammed the police in Sri Lanka for alleged torture and abuse of people while in detention.
The Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2012 states that in Sri Lanka the law makes torture a punishable offense and mandates a sentence of not less than seven years’ and not more than 10 years’ imprisonment.
However, the report says there were credible reports that police and security forces tortured and abused citizens. The Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) allows for confessions from torture to be admitted as evidence.
The report also claimed that in the east and the north, military intelligence and other security personnel, sometimes allegedly working with paramilitaries, were responsible for the documented and undocumented detention of civilians suspected of LTTE connections. Detention reportedly was followed by interrogation that sometimes included mistreatment or torture. There were reports that detainees were released with a warning not to reveal information about their arrest or detention, under the threat of rearrest or death. (Colombo Gazette)