Sri Lanka Naval Officers Detained Over Tamil Politician Murder

Sri Lanka Naval Officers Detained Over Tamil Politician Murder

Three Sri Lankan Navy personnel, including two officers, have been detained by the police here under anti-terrorism act for the alleged murder of a popular Tamil lawmaker in 2006 that snowballed into a major human rights issue for the then government.

Nadarajah Raviraj, 44, was gunned down in his car alongwith his police guard as he left his residence here in November 2006.

Raviraj was a popular Tamil politician with an ability tocommunicate with the Sinhala majority and was a rising star inthe main Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance.

A former mayor of Jaffna and a lawyer by profession, Raviraj openly spoke out against the conflict between the military and LTTE in the country's north and east.

Police spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said that the threeNavy personnel are now being questioned over the 2006 murder.

"These three officers are being detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. They are being questioned over Raviraj's killing, as well as killing the police officer who was present with the MP when he was shot. The detained suspects are also being questioned on the abductions and disappearances of several young men," he said.

The murder which happened at the height of the government's military crackdown on the LTTE had became a major human rights accountability issue for the earlier Mahinda Rajapaksa administration.

Sri Lanka under former President Rajapaksa was subject tothree consecutive UN Human Rights Council resolutions, the last of which mandated an international inquiry on alleged rights abuses committed by both government troops and the LTTE.

The Rajapaksa government had resisted the investigation dubbing it as a violation of Sri Lanka's sovereignty.

The incumbent administration of President Maithripala Sirisena is also opposed to an international investigation but has agreed to a credible domestic probe with international technical assistance.


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