FM condemns alleged detention of Swiss embassy employee | Sunday Observer

FM condemns alleged detention of Swiss embassy employee

Foreign Affairs Minister Dinesh Gunawardena condemned the alleged illegal detention and threatening of a local Swiss Embassy employee on Monday. He assured an impartial inquiry to uncover the truth.

Speaking to the Sunday Observer Gunawardena said he met the Swiss Ambassador when he heard about the incident two days later. He said they assured the Ambassador the Government’s fullest cooperation to investigate the matter.

“The CID has launched an investigation under the IGP’s instructions and the foreign ministry issued a statement on Thursday,” he said adding the Prime Minister also discussed the matter with the Swiss Ambassador.

He added, “It is an ongoing investigation so I cannot go into much details. But we are working with the Swiss Embassy and we will respect all norms of diplomatic relationships. That has been assured to the Swiss Ambassador and the diplomatic community based in Colombo. We will get to the bottom of this. It is very sad and we condemn this type of action.”

Gunawardena further said that allegations are sometimes made and this was experienced during the past few years.

“The leaders of the previous government were accused of many things but the charges were not established. We are aware of attempts to tarnish the image of the government; we need to get to the truth. We work with an open mind and extend our support to the Swiss Embassy. I assure that the investigators are on the job,” he said.

Meanwhile, issuing a statement the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka stated it was deeply concerned about the incident and called for an urgent thorough and impartial investigation into this ‘alarming’ incident.

“As you would agree a speedy and impartial investigation into the matter to unearth those responsible is absolutely essential to strengthen public confidence in law enforcement and to dispel public fears,” it stated adding, “When the public entertains such fears it has a chilling effect on democratic rights and freedoms.

Not only must justice be done on behalf of the young woman who may be traumatized by the abduction, but the larger issue of the need to reassure the public also must be addressed.”

Releasing an official statement the Embassy of Switzerland stated the employee was ‘detained against her will in the street, forced to get into a car, seriously threatened at length by unidentified men.

The Embassy also said the employee’s health is in ‘deterioration condition’ and is not in a state to testify.