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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2702

Karuna charged with violations of immigration laws not human rights -- Maxwell Keegal, Sri Lankan diplomat

By T.Jeyapalan

London, 09 November, (Asiantribune.com):A Tamil newspaper based in London, said that Karuna had been offered political asylum by another country, but he decided to come to London because his family has been given ‘leave to stay’ pending review of their case.

A Senior diplomat attached to Sri Lanka High Commission in London told “Thesam,: a Tamil website in the UK, "Col. Karuna", the renegade rebel commander who split with the LTTE and was arrested on November 2 in London in a British joint operation.

He also said that he has no confirmation about Karuna seeking asylum in the UK.” Karuna is being held for traveling on under a false name and a passport that did not belong to him.

Here is the edited version of his interview with “Thesam”:

Setting Down of Karuna's Political Journey

London, 09 November, (Asiantribune.com): Here is the edited version of his interview with “Thesam”:

The ethnic and political life of Karuna Amman which started in 1983 in Batticaloa has almost come to an end on November 2, 2007, in an immigration detention centre in Britain. Maxwell Keegal, a top diplomat from the Sri Lankan High Commission, in London said that on 2nd November morning around 7:00 AM, Karuna was arrested in Kensington, a posh suburb in the heart of London”. At the time of arrest his wife and children too were also there, but only Karuna was arrested.

Karuna who was arrested on 2nd November has now applied for political asylum and sought asylum on his own free will. It is learnt that there are solicitors already working for Karuna and he is satisfied with the security arrangement given to him.

Asian Tribune learns that another country had agreed to give him political asylum in his own name, but Karuna decided to come to Britain because his wife and children have already applied for political asylum in Britain and also because they have been given ‘leaved to remain’ in the country. It is said that Karuna had decided to stay in Britain permanently even before he was arrested.

When the news of Karuna in London was circulating, British Authorities inquired from the Sri Lankan High Commission about the veracity of it. However the Sri Lankan High Commission was not aware of Karuna’s presence in London, said Keegal. After the arrest of Karuna British Authorities officially informed the Sri Lankan High Commission.

Karuna is treated as all the other Sri Lankan citizens and since he is a Sri Lankan citizen, it is the duty of the Sri Lankan High Commission to provide consular assistance only if requested, said Maxwell Keegal.

With the view to ensure Karuna’s security, name and the location of the detention centre he is being kept secretly, it is learnt.

When Thesam asked whether Karuna can be given asylum because of charges of violations of human rights’ abuses, abduction, murder and so many other charges Keegal responded that Karuna has been arrested only on immigration charges and nothing else. It is the responsibility of the British judiciary to decide regarding his asylum application.

He added that according to his knowledge there are no cases has been filed against him in Sri Lanka and unless there is solid evidence no action can be taken Karuna as an individual.

When asked whether there is any likelihood of bringing Karuna before the International Criminal Court, Maxwell Keegal said that Sri Lank is not a signatory to the protocol of the International Criminal Court and the Tamil Makkal Veduthalai Pullikal under Karuna’s leadership is a registered political party and they have given up their arms and joined the democratic mainstream of politics. They are carrying arms only for their safety.

When pointed out that Sri Lankan Government is setting Karuna and Pillian against each other and adopting the divide and rule tactics. Maxwell Keegal said this solely an internal quarrel of Tamil Makkal Veduthalai Pullikal.

Similarly intelligence organization in other countries, Sri Lanka Army intelligence unit too might have made use of Karuna for gathering intelligence that might have contributed in liberating the Eastern Province. Keegal pointed out that Karuna’s group has not joined with Sri Lankan Army or involved in any attack.

Since Karuna sought political asylum that party’s future as well as Karuna’s political future seems to have come to a dead end.

No one will regret for Karuna’s political future coming to an end. Karuna is a person who was involved in destabilizing the normal life of thousands of Sri Lankans as well as a person who was responsible for the death of hundreds of them. However, the very the democratic and the human rights principles which Karuna denied to the people have come to his rescue when he sought for political asylum in the name of Democracy and Human Rights. Who will come forward to console those people still living in our country, who have lost their beloved ones? What can we tell them? CourtesyThesamNet

-Asian Tribune -

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