Prez says no Swiss involvement in abduction drama
Posted on December 19th, 2019

by Zacki Jabbar Courtesy Island


President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday ruled out the involvement of the Swiss Embassy in the allegation leveled by one of its employees Garnia Banister Francis, that she had been abducted by some persons in Colombo on November 25, harassed and forced to open her phone and reveal how IP Nishantha Silva had fled to Switzerland the day before.

Asked by this correspondent, during an interaction with the Foreign Correspondents Association at the Presidential Secretariat, if he suspected involvement of the Swiss Embassy in the allegations leveled by Garnia, the President said, “I don’t think so. But, I told the Ambassador of Switzerland Hanspeter Mock not to make Garnia’s case a government to government issue and for his Embassy to distance itself from Garnia’s allegations. We cannot find fault with the initial reaction of the Swiss Embassy since it had a duty to stand by its employee when the news first broke.”

Referring to allegations by the Swiss Foreign Ministry that due process had not been followed in dealing with Garnia’s case, Gotabaya said there was no truth in it. He revealed that the government had been in agreement to allow Garnia to leave for Switzerland in an air ambulance on medical grounds, but when it was found that there was no evidence to substantiate her allegations and, therefore, permission had been denied and she was interrogated by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) before being produced in court, which remanded her.

” We also allowed Garnia to be accompanied by her lawyer, when questioned by the CID, the President noted, adding that even he had not been granted that privilege.

Asked if there was a connection between IP Nishantha Silva, who was the former Officer in Charge of the Organised Crimes Investigation Unit of the CID, fleeing to Switzerland and seeking asylum there and the allegations leveled by Garnia, he said that aspect had to be investigated.

Gotabaya pointed out that the actual victim had been he, since there had been a move to allege that “White Vans” were back in operation.

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