Sri Lanka leader denies army killed militant’s child

Updated 03 March 2013
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Sri Lanka leader denies army killed militant’s child

NEW DELHI: Sri Lanka’s president in an interview published yesterday firmly denied that government troops executed the 12-year-old son of separatist chief Velupillai Prabhakaran in 2009.
Britain’s Channel 4 released photos last week to publicize their new documentary, “No Fire Zone — The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” alleging that soldiers had killed the slain Tamil Tiger chief’s youngest son Balachandran.
But President Mahinda Rajapakse strongly rejected the allegation made in the documentary, which was shown at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Friday.
“Had it happened, I would have known (it). It is obvious that if somebody (from the armed forces) had done that, I must take responsibility. We completely deny it,” the president told India’s Hindu newspaper. “It can’t be.” Sri Lanka claimed victory over the Tamil Tigers after the May 2009 killing of Prabhakaran and his top commanders.
The government in the past has maintained that Prabhakaran’s family were killed in the fighting. However, the bodies of his wife and daughter have never been found.
In one photograph released by Channel 4, Balachandran is seen eating a snack while sitting in a green sandbag bunker guarded by a soldier. A second image shows his bullet-riddled bare-chested body.
Director Callum Macrae, also writing in the Hindu newspaper last week, said the photos used in his documentary proved the army’s involvement in war crimes, including summary executions during the island’s 37-year-long civil war.
Rights groups say up to 40,000 civilians were killed by security forces in the final months of a no-holds-barred offensive in 2009 that ended Sri Lanka’s decades-long fight against Tamil separatists.
Sri Lanka denies causing civilian deaths, but Colombo faces a fresh censure resolution at the ongoing UN Human Rights Council session later this month.
Rajapakse accused international human rights organizations and media outlets of being very one-sided over allegations of human rights abuses in the final stages of the war in 2009.
“They must not merely listen to one group and the opposition (in Sri Lanka).
Rajapakse accused Sri Lanka’s opposition of “trying to get the support of other countries to create an ‘Arab Spring’” uprising in the resort island nation. “That won’t happen in Sri Lanka,” he said.


Rights court dismisses Breivik’s complaint about jail conditions

Breivik is serving a 21-year sentence for the July 2011 massacre of 77 people. (Lise Aaserud via Reuters)
Updated 2 min 25 sec ago
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Rights court dismisses Breivik’s complaint about jail conditions

  • Norwegian officials have repeatedly rejected allegations that Breivik is isolated, arguing that he is treated as a “VIP prisoner” and has regular contact with prison staff, his lawyer and visitors
  • Breivik has the use of three cells, each measuring more than 10 square meters and equipped with a television, computer, DVD player and gym gear

STRASBOURG: The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday dismissed a complaint by Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik over his prison conditions, ending a long-running saga that kept him in the public eye, tormenting his victims.
Breivik is serving a 21-year sentence for the July 2011 massacre of 77 people, most of them teenagers gunned down while attending a Labour Party youth camp on the small island of Utoeya.
The far-right, anti-Islam extremist took his case to the ECHR after Norway’s Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal last year against a ruling that his near-isolation in a three-room cell respected his human rights.
His lawyer argued that the prison conditions breached articles 3 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights: the former prohibits inhuman or degrading treatment, the latter guarantees a right to privacy and family life.
“His state (of mind) is deteriorating,” his lawyer Oystein Storrvik told AFP. “He is no longer able to study for example.”
But the court based in Strasbourg said that “its examination of the case did not reveal any violations of the Convention, and rejected the application as inadmissible for being manifestly ill-founded.”
Norwegian officials have repeatedly rejected allegations that Breivik is isolated, arguing that he is treated as a “VIP prisoner” and has regular contact with prison staff, his lawyer and visitors.
He has the use of three cells, each measuring more than 10 square meters and equipped with a television, computer, DVD player and gym gear. He has no Internet connection, however.
Survivors of the Utoeya massacre expressed satisfaction at the ruling.
“It’s a relief. We’re hoping not to hear his name again for many years to come,” Lisbeth Kristine Royneland, the head of a victims’ support group whose 18-year-old daughter was killed by Breivik, told AFP.
Writing on Twitter, a survivor of the massacre, Tore Remi Christensen, wrote: “The Breivik case is rejected in Strasbourg. Delighted. May he and all those who share his shitty message rot in hell.”
Breivik’s killing spree began on July 22, 2011, when he set off a bomb outside a government building in Oslo, killing eight people.
Disguised as a police officer and armed with a semi-automatic rifle and pistol, he then went to Utoya where the Labour Party was holding a youth camp, killing 69.
During his trial the extremist, who has changed his name to Fjotolf Hansen, repeatedly addressed the courts with Nazi salutes and complained about the cold coffee and frozen meals served in prison, among other things.
His sentence can be extended indefinitely if judges determine he remains a threat to society.