Swiss authorities to grill LTTE prisoners in Sri Lanka

Investigators from Switzerland are to visit Sri Lanka to record statements from Tamil Tiger rebels who are in police custody over rebel activities in Switzerland and the funds they collected to support the war in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan government said on Friday.

The Swiss authorities are flying in legal officers of the Federal State Prosecutor’s office, the Swiss Federal criminal police, translators and defense counsels to Sri Lanka in September to question 26 witnesses.

The Sri Lankan government Information Department quoted Swiss officials as saying that so far 120 witnesses and informants have been questioned in Switzerland with regard to the suspected criminal activities of the Tamil Tigers.

The case is connected with illegally procured funds being willfully diverted to support the Tamil Tigers during their war against the Sri Lankan army.

During the war the Tamil Tigers were believed to have received huge amounts of money from the Tamil diaspora to purchase weapons to fight the Sri Lankan army.

Most weapons were shipped to Sri Lanka directly to rebel controlled areas and the chief arms procurer for the rebels, Kumaran Padmanathan, was arrested in 2009 in Malaysia.

The army defeated the rebels in 2009 after 30 years of fighting which saw thousands being killed on both sides including civilians.
Apart from Switzerland, officials in the United States, Canada, France, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands are also conducting investigations on the Tamil Tigers.

Since 2009, Swiss prosecutors have lodged cases against many Tamil Tiger suspects in Switzerland. Over a dozen leaders of the Tamil Tigers have been accused of laundering money, belonging to criminal organizations for threats and extortion. Among them is the former chief of the Tamil Tigers in Switzerland. (Xinhua-ANI)