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Singapore asked to indict Sri Lanka’s exiled leader

An international human rights group has formally asked Singapore to indict Sri Lanka’s deposed president Gotabaya Rajapaksa for crimes against humanity during his country’s decades-long civil war, officials said Monday. Rajapaksa fled his country earlier this month after his official residence was stormed by tens of thousands of protesters infuriated by the island nation’s painful economic crisis. He later escaped to the Maldives in a military…

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for serious violations of international humanitarian law.

The 63-page lawsuit states that these crimes “include murder, execution, torture and cruel treatment, rape and other forms of sexual abuse, deprivation of liberty, severe bodily and mental injury, and malnutrition.”

Without providing any information, Singapore’s Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) acknowledged Monday that it had received a complaint from the organisation over the weekend.

The once-powerful Rajapaksa family has long resisted repeated requests from the international community for an impartial probe and has maintained that no civilians were killed during the suppression of the Tamil Tigers rebel movement.

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Rajapaksa, a retired army lieutenant colonel, liberated an army sergeant who was serving a death sentence for the murder of eight Tamils, including three children, shortly after taking office in November 2019.

In the previous year, Rajapaksa pardoned Duminda Silva, a close friend and fellow murderer who was serving a death sentence for the murder of a former MP and four other people.

The convicted were serving life sentences when the former president released them, despite local and international outcry, because Sri Lanka doesn’t actually use the death penalty.

When Rajapaksa served as defence secretary from 2005 to 2015, he was accused of directing death squads, but he denied kidnapping and murdering journalists and dissidents.

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After he was elected president and granted sovereign immunity in 2019, two legal proceedings brought against him in a California court were put on hold.

One was brought by 11 survivors of torture, while the other was brought by the daughter of a well-known anti-establishment editor who was reportedly murdered at Rajapaksa’s command.

bur-aj/gle/dhc

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