April 23, 2012

By Colombo Telegraph -

luxmansenevirathne – Copy

Lakshman Seneviratne

“Opposition United National Party legislator Lakshman Seneviratne, speaking in Parliament, accused Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, Colombo Deputy-Inspector General of Police Rohan Abeywardena and former Air Force Squadron Leader Nishantha Gajanayake of orchestrating abductions. Ambassador raised U.S. concerns about the new trend of Muslim abductions with Foreign Minister Bogollogama on June 13 .” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from WikiLeaks database, which details the emergency regulation debate which took place on June 6, 2007. The cable is classified as “SECRET” and written by the Ambassador Robert O. Blake on June 19, 2007.

Quoting then opposition MP and present Minister of Productivity Promotion Lakshman Seneviratne Robert Blake wrote “On June 6, during an emergency session of Parliament, United National Party (UNP) parliamentarian Lakshman Seneviratne accused Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, Colombo Deputy-Inspector General of Police Rohan Abeywardena and former Air Force Squadron Leader Nishantha Gajanayake of orchestrating abductions. Seneviratne stated that Gajanayake, a retired Air Force officer whose last assignment was as Executive Assistant to former Sri Lanka Armed Forces Commander Donald Perera, was Gothabaya’s personal link to the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP, or “Karuna faction”) in Colombo. He added that Gajanayake arranged abductions using the TMVP on orders from Gothabaya and with the assistance of police officers acting under Abeywardena. Although Seneviratne did not differentiate between Muslim abductions and Tamil abductions during his condemnation of the Defense Secretary, he did lodge specific accusations concerning the abduction of a prominent Muslim businessman against Defense Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella’s security detail, leading to angry exchanges in Parliament. Seneviratne stated that a Muslim businessman’s brother told him that Rambukwella’s bodyguards lured the businessman to a hotel in Kandy and then held him for ransom, demanding a ‘colossal’ sum of money.”

Related news; WikiLeaks: Justice Minister Hakeem Knows Who The Abductors Are

Below we give the relevant part of the confidential cable;

VZCZCXRO9010OO RUEHBI RUEHLMCDE RUEHLM #0861/01 1700544ZNY SSSSS ZZHO 190544Z JUN 07FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBOTO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6287 INFO RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 0214RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 7197RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 5304RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3844RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 1104RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 3915 RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 1139RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 3001 RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 7783RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 5443 RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO PRIORITY 0260RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION PRIORITYRUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITYRHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITYRUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 2136 RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITYRHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITYRUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 000861 SIPDIS SIPDIS DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INS AND PMMCC FOR D NASSIRY AND E BURKE E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/18/2017TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER PHUM MOPS CESUBJECT: SRI LANKA: ABDUCTIONS PLAGUE MUSLIM COMMUNITY REF: COLOMBO 842 Classified By: Ambassador Robert O. Blake, Jr., for reasons 1.4(b,d). 1. (S) SUMMARY: Muslim businessmen have been subjected to abductions for the first time in recent weeks, marking a newand disturbing trend. Following numerous complaints fromMuslim community groups, Ambassador called on Sri LankaMuslim Congress leader Rauff Hakeem (strictly protect), who stated that support for abductions of Muslim businessmencomes from "the very top." Opposition United National Partylegislator Lakshman Seneviratne, speaking in Parliament,accused Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, Colombo Deputy-Inspector General of Police Rohan Abeywardena andformer Air Force Squadron Leader Nishantha Gajanayake oforchestrating abductions. Ambassador raised U.S. concernsabout the new trend of Muslim abductions with Foreign Minister Bogollogama on June 13 (reftel). END SUMMARY. EMBASSY RECEIVES AN INFLUX OF COMPLAINTS—————————————- 2. (C) In recent weeks the Embassy has received severalanonymous letters from Muslim groups alleging that they arebeing targeted for abduction for ransom. One such letterfrom the "Muslim Community in Sri Lanka," with no returnaddress, states that "within a short period they havekidnapped and collected huge sums from Muslim businessmen."Several Muslim leaders have alleged that Muslim businessmenare being targeted for abduction now that most prominent Tamil businessmen have either paid off paramilitary groups orfled the country. MUSLIM LEADER STATES ABDUCTIONS COME "FROM THE VERY TOP" ——————————————— ———– 3. (S) Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader and Minister ofPosts and Telecommunications Rauff Hakeem (strictly protect)told Ambassador on June 14 that he believed that thosecarrying out abductions receive "patronage from the verytop," but did not elaborate further. Hakeem stated that hehas received many complaints from his constituents recentlyabout abductions for ransom among the Muslim community butthat victims were "petrified" to come forward and make a formal complaint. According to Hakeem, some prominent Muslimbusinessmen have decided to leave Sri Lanka until the threatof abduction subsides. In reference to government-sanctionedabductions of Muslim businessmen for ransom, Hakeem said thatthe Muslim community "has never seen this before." UNP CONNECTS ABDUCTIONS TO GOTHABAYA———————————— 4. (SBU) On June 6, during an emergency session ofParliament, United National Party (UNP) parliamentarianLakshman Seneviratne accused Defense Secretary GothabayaRajapaksa, Colombo Deputy-Inspector General of Police Rohan Abeywardena and former Air Force Squadron Leader NishanthaGajanayake of orchestrating abductions. Seneviratne statedthat Gajanayake, a retired Air Force officer whose lastassignment was as Executive Assistant to former Sri LankaArmed Forces Commander Donald Perera, was Gothabaya’spersonal link to the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP,or "Karuna faction") in Colombo. He added that Gajanayakearranged abductions using the TMVP on orders from Gothabayaand with the assistance of police officers acting underAbeywardena. Although Seneviratne did not differentiatebetween Muslim abductions and Tamil abductions during hiscondemnation of the Defense Secretary, he did lodge specific accusations concerning the abduction of a prominent Muslim COLOMBO 00000861 002 OF 002 businessman against Defense Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella’ssecurity detail, leading to angry exchanges in Parliament.Seneviratne stated that a Muslim businessman’s brother toldhim that Rambukwella’s bodyguards lured the businessman to ahotel in Kandy and then held him for ransom, demanding a "colossal" sum of money.

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