Sri Lanka’s complicity in America’s extraordinary rendition
Posted on February 19th, 2013

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island

US President intervened to take charge of al-Qaeda suspect

CID arrested “ƒ”¹…”terrorist’ in Puttalam and sedated him before delivery US Embassy “ƒ”¹…”prepared’ documents identifying him as American

February 19, 2013, 9:24 pm
Inquiries into Sri Lanka’s involvement in the US extraordinary rendition programme have revealed that the then US President George W. Bush personally intervened in 2003 to have a wanted foreign al-Qaeda suspect extradited from Sri Lanka to an unknown destination.

Highly placed sources told The Island that only the then Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe, Defence Minister Tilak Marapone, Defence Secretary Austin Fernando and Minister Milinda Moragoda had been aware of the transfer of the prisoner carried out after consultations between the two governments at the highest level. The Sri Lankan government had to operate on the so-called need-to-know basis.

The inquiry got underway recently following an allegation by the New York-based Open Society Foundation (OSF) that there had been no known judicial cases or investigations in Sri Lanka relating to its participation in CIA secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations.”

A report recently released by the OSF dealt primarily with human rights abuses associated with the CIA’s post-Sept. 2001 secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations.

Having received US alert as regards the presence of one of those high on the CIA’s wanted list, the UNF government launched a countrywide hunt quickly leading to the arrest of the fugitive taking refuge in the Puttalam police division. Sources said that the arrest had been made by a special Criminal Investigation Department (CID) squad, though initially it was believed either the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) or the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) had carried out the clandestine operation.

The Defence Ministry confirmed the arrest of the fugitive and handing him over to the CIA in Colombo. Sources said that a senior New Delhi based US official had arrived in Colombo immediately after the arrest was made to take charge of the suspect.

Later, a special private flight, hired by the CIA, had landed at the Bandaranaike International Airport to move the suspect to a secret interrogation facility, sources said.

Asked whether the CID had questioned the suspect, sources said that there was no requirement on the part of Sri Lanka to initiate an inquiry.

When the UNF government explained the difficulty in handing over a non-Sri Lankan to the CIA in violation of the international law, the US Embassy had promptly issued a travel document identifying the suspect as a US national to facilitate the transfer, sources said.

Those involved in the operation had sedated the suspect before moving him to the special aircraft under heavy guard, sources said. Airport authorities, too, were kept in the dark as regards the prisoner transfer.During Wickremesinghe’s tenure, Sri Lanka and the US agreed on non-surrender of “ƒ”¹…”criminals’ to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Israel, Pakistan, Kuwait and Afghanistan were some of the countries which reached bi-lateral agreements with the US.

Under the agreement the US and Sri Lanka will not surrender or extradite people, including security forces and politicians of either party present in the territory of the other to the ICC without the consent of the country concerned.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa joined the Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA) in early 2007 to facilitate US military operations. Sources said that the highpoint of US-Sri Lanka cooperation was the Sri Lanka Navy receiving intelligence to hunt down four LTTE ships in two separate confrontations in 2008.

2 Responses to “Sri Lanka’s complicity in America’s extraordinary rendition”

  1. Senevirath Says:

    Ranil always support western countries than sinhalese.America has to SAY THAT SOMEBODY IS A TERRORIST FOR RANIL TO ACT. He signed an aggreement with Prabhakaran because he was not informed by Americans that Prabhakaran was a terrorist
    Mercy upon him….hi hi.. hi…

  2. A. Sooriarachi Says:

    If this man was a terrorist like Prabakaran, Wijeweera or any other LTTE or JVP terrorist, then we should not have any sympathy for such person. However, it should have been a transparent operation, ensuring the rights of the suspect for a fair hearing is not violated.
    On a positive note was the fact, the US also provided information on the Tiger floating arms warehouses in mid ocean, which helped to sink them along with their terrorist crews. This helped SriLanka to a considerable extent to shorten the conflict with the terrorists.
    I believe, this understanding/agreement with the US had a greater +ve impact than any -ve impacts, for SriLanka.

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