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 Post subject: Karuna sentenced for 9 month imprisonment in London - update
 Post Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 11:17 am 
Karuna Arrested in London
Karuna sentenced for 9 month imprisonment in London - update

The LTTE's former eastern commander had led an unprecedented split from the group in March 2004. He had later set up his own rebel unit in Eastern Sri Lanka.

@ Agencies/DM
Saturday , November 03, 2007


Image

The London police have arrested Colonel Karuna, who heads a breakaway faction of the LTTE. He was arrested for traveling on a forged passport.

The British Home office today confirmed that Karuna was arrested in London and is being held at the Metropolitan police. In an email to the Daily Mirror the press officer of the Home Office Zoe Paxton said Amman was arrested following a joint operation between the BIA and Metropolitan Police but refused to comment further.

"Karuna Amman has been arrested following a joint operation between the BIA and Metropolitan Police. He is now being held in immigration detention it would not be appropriate to comment further." Zoe Paxton told the Daily Mirror

The Daily Mirror has learnt that Amman was arrested with a forged passport and is likely to be deported to Colombo.

The LTTE's former eastern commander had led an unprecedented split from the group in March 2004. He had later set up his own rebel unit in Eastern Sri Lanka.

Since they parted ways, LTTE leaders have blamed Karuna for several attacks against its cadre.

LTTE leaders also say he is collaborating with Sri Lankan Military Intelligence. The Tigers have also accused the Sri Lankan government of protecting Karuna and his loyalists.

Recent reports in the Sri Lankan media say he had been smuggled off the island due to threats to his life from LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran.


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 Post subject: Rights group wants Karuna charged in UK
 Post Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 11:24 am 
Rights group wants Karuna charged in UK

“Given the magnitude of Karuna’’s crimes over the years, including attacks on civilians and use of child soldiers, Human Rights Watch strongly urges the UK government to explore the possibility of prosecuting him for war crimes and other international offences before returning him to Sri Lanka,”

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain should look at trying ex-Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger rebel Karuna Amman, detained on immigration charges, for war crimes, Human Rights Watch said on Saturday.

The former eastern Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) commander is accused by rights experts of child soldier recruitment, extortion and torture both before and after he split from the mainstream rebels in 2004.

Britain’s Home Office said late on Friday Karuna was detained after a joint operation between the police and immigration authorities, giving no further details. Human Rights Watch said the authorities should look at doing more.

“Give the magnitude of Karuna’’s crimes over the years, including attacks on civilians and use of child soldiers, Human Rights Watch strongly urges the UK government to explore the possibility of prosecuting him for war crimes and other international offences before returning him to Sri Lanka,” Human Rights Watch senior legal adviser Jim Ross told Reuters.
The Home Office was not immediately available to comment. Britain is a signatory to the International Criminal Court, which has charged a Congolese rebel with child recruitment, but Sri Lanka is not and the court is not investigating the conflict in the island. Ross said he was unsure if Karuna could be charged under UK law.

Since the split, Karuna has been fighting his former colleagues in the east as the island’s 2002 ceasefire collapsed into outright war. Analysts and diplomats say the government has been using and supporting him, a charge both he and the government denied.

His attacks on the mainstream rebels were seen as a factor in rising violence last year. Experts estimate some 5,000 people have died since last year bringing the total death toll from two decades of civil war to some 70,000.




Karuna in immigration detention centre
Held for allegedly travelling on false passport


@ The Hindu / By Hasan Suroor

LONDON: The rebel LTTE leader, Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, better known as “Colonel Karuna Amman,” who was arrested here on Friday for allegedly travelling on a false passport, is being held in an immigration detention centre.

According to the Home Office, he was arrested following a joint operation between the newly-created Border and Immigration Agency and the Metropolitan police.

A spokesperson said he was being held in “immigration detention” but declined to give details saying: “It would not be appropriate to comment further.”

“Colonel” Karuna, who broke away from the LTTE in 2004 to form his own group, has been accused by the main LTTE leadership of “collaborating” with the Sri Lankan Government but he has denied this.

The British Government has voiced concern over reports that his group has been involved in murders, abductions and in recruiting child soldiers.

But in a rare BBC interview earlier this year he denied this saying: “Definitely we have no need to recruit them because we have no need of building up a military body. At the moment the Sri Lankan government, all three armed forces, are fighting against the Tamil Tigers. We have no need to do so.”

He said that, in fact, one of the reasons why he left the LTTE was because children from the East, his stronghold, were being “sacrificed” by the LTTE leadership.

“Our eastern children had been taken to the northern fighting zone and sacrificed by [Velupillai] Prabhakaran. We didn’t accept that. Our eastern children should study, they should live in freedom,” he said.


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 Post subject: Karuna is one of the worst human rights abusers- HRW
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 1:56 pm 
Karuna is one of the worst human rights abusers- HRW

In June 1990, some 400 to 600 police officers in the east who surrendered to the LTTE were bound, gagged, beaten and executed the Sinhalese and Muslims among them. In July 1990, Karuna’s forces stopped a convoy of Muslims traveling in Batticaloa district and executed about 75 people, including women and children. In August 1990, Karuna’s forces killed more than 200 civilians in two incidents in the Batticaloa district.

@ The Nation/ 18 November 2007

The New York based Human Rights Watch (HRW) yesterday reiterated their request demanding that British authorities open a criminal investigation into Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, known as Colonel Karuna Amman, a former Tamil Tiger leader in immigration detention.

In a statement issued late Friday, HRW noted that British law permits the prosecution of individuals for serious violations of international law, including torture and war crimes, committed abroad. For example, in 2005, UK courts convicted a former Afghan warlord, Faryadi Sarwar Zardad, for acts of torture and hostage-taking in Afghanistan.

“The British government has shown that it can successfully prosecute those who have committed serious abuses abroad,” said Brad Adams, Asia Director at Human Rights Watch, in his statement. “Karuna is one of the worst human rights abusers ever to end up in custody in the UK. We expect the government to fully explore all legal possibilities for prosecuting Karuna,” Adams noted.

According to HRW, Karuna’s case is important for bringing justice for international crimes. “Karuna has a long and horrific record of abuse that demands justice. His arrest in the UK is a golden opportunity to bring justice for the victims of his many atrocities,” Adams said.

The statement noted that the British government should open a criminal investigation into a former Tamil Tiger leader in immigration detention, Human Rights Watch said today. Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, known as Colonel Karuna Amman, was a leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) until he split to form his own group.

Human Rights Watch said the case provides an important opportunity for justice for victims of human rights abuses in Sri Lanka.

On November 2, 2007, UK immigration authorities arrested Karuna, a rebel military commander who has long been linked to the summary execution and torture of civilians and the use of children as soldiers. Until leaving the LTTE in March 2004, Karuna was the Tigers’ top commander in eastern Sri Lanka, and the reputed number two in the LTTE hierarchy. Because he had been given a de facto amnesty by the Sri Lankan government and his armed group fought against the LTTE in recent years, it is unlikely the Sri Lankan government would prosecute him.

Tamil Tiger forces under Karuna’s command were directly involved in some of the worst crimes of Sri Lanka’s ongoing civil war. In June 1990, some 400 to 600 police officers in the east who surrendered to the LTTE were bound, gagged and beaten. The Tamil Tigers, including forces under Karuna’s control, then executed the Sinhalese and Muslims among them. In July 1990, Karuna’s forces stopped a convoy of Muslims traveling in Batticaloa district and executed about 75 people, including women and children. In August 1990, Karuna’s forces killed more than 200 civilians in two incidents in the Batticaloa district.

In 2004, Human Rights Watch investigated the Tamil Tigers’ recruitment and use of children as soldiers. Karuna’s forces played a prominent role, routinely visiting Tamil homes to tell parents to provide a child for the ‘movement.’ The LTTE harassed and threatened families that resisted, and children were abducted from their homes at night or while walking to school.

After Karuna broke away from the Tamil Tigers, his armed group operated with the complicity of the Sri Lankan security forces. The Karuna group, as it was known, engaged in abduction of children for use as soldiers in Sri Lanka’s eastern districts, taking boys from their homes, work places, temples, playground, public roads, camps for the internally displaced, and even a wedding. These abuses are documented in the Human Rights Watch report “Complicit in Crime: State Collusion in Abductions and Child Recruitment by the Karuna Group,” published in January 2007.




Govt smuggled Karuna to London on forged DPL passport

Passport in the name of Kokila Gunawardena

The forged diplomatic passport was issued by the Immigration Department on the orders of higher authorities in the name of Kokila Gunawardena on August 30, 2007. Karuna was issued a valid British visa in the name of Kokila Gunawardena by the High Commission in Colombo on September 5 on a recommendation by Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry.

By Lasantha Wickrematunge
@ TML / Wednesday, November 7, 2007 Volume 3 No. 17


Damning evidence has surfaced that the Government smuggled LTTE renegade commander Karuna to Great Britain on a forged diplomatic passport.

An investigation by The Morning Leader revealed that the forged diplomatic passport was issued by the Immigration Department on the orders of higher authorities in the name of Kokila Gunawardena on August 30, 2007.

It has been further revealed that Karuna was issued a valid British visa in the name of Kokila Gunawardena by the High Commission in Colombo on September 5 on a recommendation by Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry.

The Morning Leader investigation revealed that the Foreign Ministry had sent a Third Party Note to the British High Commission in Colombo together with a number of passports recommending visas for a group of persons to attend a climate change conference in Britain and included in the set of passports was a diplomatic passport in the name of Kokila Gunawardena.

Gunawardena was recommended for the visa as an official representing a department coming under the Environment Ministry of JHU’s Champika Ranawaka.

It is now revealed that Karuna travelled to Britain on the passport which was in the name of Kokila Gunawardena and landed at the Heathrow airport on September 18. It had also been reported that Karuna was accompanied to the aircraft at the Bandaranaike International Airport to board the London flight by Airport and Aviation deputy chief Shalitha Wijesundera who is yet to deny the reports.

Sources in England said Karuna was arrested by the British authorities in London in a house in the affluent Kensington area where his wife and three children were residing. The diplomatic passport in the possession of Karuna under the name ‘Kokila Gunawardena’ was also taken into custody by the British authorities at the time of arrest.

The Morning Leader further learns, Karuna had asked for political asylum upon being arrested. Karuna’s wife and three children had earlier entered Britain legitimately and applied for political asylum and those applications are now being processed.

The Morning Leader also learns Karuna is currently under interrogation by the British Anti Terrorism Liason Unit.

Secretary to the Foreign Affairs Ministry Palitha Kohona contacted by The Morning Leader said he was certain his ministry would not have recommended a visa for Karuna to the British high Commission. He however refused to comment when asked whether a visa could have been recommended for him under a false identity stating he was not obliged to answer such questions or be subjected to cross examination.

On the question of the procedure involved in the issuance of a diplomatic passport, Kohona said that question should be directed to the department of Immigration since they were the issuing authority.

Asked who decides whether an individual is entitled to a diplomatic passport, Kohona said it was the department of Immigration.

However a spokesperson for the Department of Immigration told The Morning Leader that on the issuance of a diplomatic passport they only act on the directives and recommendations of the President, President’s office or the Foreign Ministry.

The spokesperson said the President’s office sends a list of persons entitled to a diplomatic passport by virtue of their office and that in addition the President can authorise the issuance of such a passport to any individual. He said the Foreign Ministry can also recommend the issuance of a diplomatic passport.

The British High Commission when contacted declined to comment on the issue stating there was an on going investigation following Karuna’s arrest in London.


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 Post subject: Karuna sentenced in Britain
 Post Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 7:01 am 
Karuna sentenced in Britain
Gotabhaya 'gave me passport'

Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, better known as Colonel Karuna, was sentenced for nine month imprisonment in London. Karuna sat behind a protective screen inside the courtroom and listened without expression as the judge handed down the sentence. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, 'arranged everything' for him to come to UK using a diplomatic passport, Karuna has told British immigration authorities.

25 January, 2008
@ BBC Sinhala


Sri Lankan paramilitary leader Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, better known as Colonel Karuna, was sentenced for nine month imprisonment in London.

Mr. Justice McDowell made the ruling on Friday at the Isleworth Crown Court in West London after considering the fact that he has already served six weeks under custody.

Karuna sat behind a protective screen inside the courtroom and listened without expression as the judge handed down the sentence.

Gotabhaya 'arranged everything'

Sri Lanka's powerful Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, 'arranged everything' for him to come to UK using a diplomatic passport, Karuna has told British immigration authorities.

Reading Karuna's statement at the open court, the prossecution said President's Rajapaksa's younger brother was known to him since he defected from the LTTE.

The prosecutor said he pleaded guilty to a criminal offence under British immigration law, but said it was the Sri Lankan government that arranged a diplomatic passport for him.

The passport was given to him only inside the plane bound to UK, according to the statement.

Although he was not a government official, he was protected by the Sri Lanka government, it added.

Government denies

The prosecutor added that the Sri Lankan government denied all allegations.

Ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party, meanwhile has entered into an electoral pact with TMVP, formerly headed by Karuna.

On Thursday, Foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama denied any involvement of the government in providing a diplomatic passport and a third person note to facilitate Karuna's visa to enter the UK.

Colonel Karuna Amman was arrested by the UK authorities in November last year.

He pleaded guilty to a criminal offence under the ID cards act for possessing a false passport on 24 December when the case was taken at a magistrates court.

Karuna's legal representative, David Philips, told the BBC after the judgement that he might apply for political asylum after serving the prison sentence.

Political asylum

"He hasn't applied for asylum because until the sentencing takes palce for a criminal case, no immigration officer will even entertain an application," he said.

There were earleir reports that Karuna has applied for aylum as he was arrested in his office in a wealthy London suburb of Kensington.

Mr. Philiops added that Karuna would want to stay in the UK as 'his wife and three children already live' in the country.

Human rights groups now want the British government to prosecute Colonel Karuna for human right abuses.

Kevin Laue, a representative from Redress Trust, which supports survivors of torture, told the BBC that the human rights organisations should now focus on presurising the authorities to bring charges against Karuna on rights violations in Sri Lanka.

Human Rights Watch has earlier called on British authorities to charge Karuna for war crimes.

Amnesty International (AI) says the judgement is helpful as it gives more time to investigate rights abuses.

"It will be tragedy if he is allowed to leave either voluntarily or otherwise after serving his sentenced without the police having thoroughly investigated whether there is evidence for him to be tried," AI said.


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