Former defence attaché to the Sri Lankan High Commission in Britain was found guilty today at the Westminster magistrate court.
Brigadier Priyanga Fernando confronted the protesters and made a gesture threatening to kill the protesters in a protest held in 2018. Tamil Solidarity organised this protest in February 2018 to mark the so-called Sri Lankan independent day as a black day. Many victims of war and various activists and along with Tamil workers and youth took part in this protest.
Fernando was found guilty previously in UK court for openly threatening to kill ordinary protesters in British soil. However, this case brought to court again as the legal team claimed that not all the facts are looked into despite the clear video evidence provided. The Sri Lankan government also got involved to protest the defence attaché. The Sri Lankan government had provided money for his family and taken him back to Sri Lanka to save him.
The British foreign ministry also got involved and asked the court to respect the so-called diplomatic immunity. However, today’s verdict ruled that he is will not be protected by diplomatic immunity and that he is guilty of his action.
Sri Lankan and the right-wing media attempted to brand all protesters as “terrorists” in order to protect this Brigadier who is part of the team of Sri Lankan military that is accused of committing war crimes in 2009. Current president Gotabaya – who was a defence minister during the genocidal war in 2009 – is now in the process of trying to promote this Brigadier and many other war criminals. Tamil Solidarity previously pointed out that if this Brigadier is confident to do this in Britain, then there is no limit on that they will do in Sri Lanka, especially to those who oppose their human rights abuses.
Tamil Solidarity and other campaigners have organised a protest outside the Westminster court every single time the hearing was held to mark the opposition to these war criminals and demanded to not let them get away with the criminal action in the UK too.
Despite the guilty verdict, the protesters are not happy about the inadequate punishment. Tamil Solidarity demands that actions to be taken immediately to issue an arrest warrant for this Brigadier. We demand that he should be arrested the moment he sets foot outside of Sri Lanka and trialled not just for this crime but also for all the crimes that he was involved in during the war in 2009. Tamil Solidarity also demands that all the war criminals must be identified and should not be allowed to hold positions anywhere in the world. Protesters gather outside the court today promised to continue their fight for justice human rights and all democratic rights. It is only a small, but important victory in the direction to build a general fightback to win our rights.