Under the existing laws of the country the Swiss Embassy employee who is claiming to have been abducted, cannot leave the country without giving a statement regarding the alleged incident, Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena told news media yesterday, adding that his ministry was still hopeful that the Swiss Embassy would co-operate with the request made and allow the alleged victim to give a statement to the Sri Lanka authorities.
Addressing a media briefing held at the Foreign Ministry yesterday the Minister said: “We have requested the Swiss Embassy to co-operate by asking the alleged victim to make a statement to the CID. Upon being notified of the incident, the IGP had immediately commenced an investigation into the alleged incident. However, in order for the investigation to proceed, it also needs a statement or complaint by the so-called victim. But up to now, no complaint or statement by the said victim has been received.”
The Foreign Ministry also summoned all Ambassadors and High Commissioners to the Foreign Ministry yesterday and explained to them the currently available details regarding the investigation conducted following a complaint made by the Swiss Ambassador regarding the abduction of an employee of his embassy on November 25. “It was brought to our notice on the 27th of November. The Prime Minister then met with all of us at the Foreign Ministry on the same day and we have assured the Swiss Embassy that we will abide by all the diplomatic immunities and all the respective processes that have been adopted in relation to such situations,” Gunawardena said.
Meanwhile, a request had been made by the Swiss Embassy to allow the alleged victim and her family to fly to Switzerland for medical treatment. “But we have advised them to follow the normal procedure. Most of the matters mentioned in the Embassy submissions have been properly checked by the authorities and we have explained to the Ambassador that there is very little truth in the main allegations. There is a lot of false allegations and misinformation being spread by various parties to bring discredit on the political leadership of our country. This is bad for the country. The statements that have been given to the law enforcement authorities as provided by the Swiss Embassy have no standing and the person claiming to have been abducted has herself, still not made a statement. Under such circumstances, how can we allow her to be taken out of the country when w don’t even know who she is?”
The Minister noted that the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Switzerland had met the Foreign Secretary and explained the current progress made in the investigations and that so far the person concerned has yet to make statement regarding the alleged incident.
Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that his ministry was still hopeful that the Swiss authorities would give their fullest co-operation in the investigation, which had been initiated upon a request made by the Swiss Ambassador. The Minister said: “The investigation was initiated based on the details of the incident provided by the Swiss Ambassador on behalf of the alleged victim. However, there are serious discrepancies regarding the details of the alleged incident given by the Swiss Ambassador and the sequence of events obtained through phone records, Uber taxi records and CCTV footage etc obtained by the CID.”
Foreign Ministry Secretary Ravinatha Ariyasinha noted that the Swiss Embassy had informed them that the alleged victim had been medically examined via video link. “On Sunday there was a report given by a doctor in Switzerland who had examined the so called patient via video link and made some observations.”
He said that the Foreign Ministry had not been notified whether any local doctor had examined the alleged victim. “The investigation was based on the details provided to us by the Swiss Ambassador and as soon as we realized the serious discrepancies in the details provided and the actual sequence of evidence obtained through investigations, we immediately notified the Swiss Ambassador. But we were told that as the so called victim was suffering from mental trauma,” the Minister said. “The Sri Lankan Ambassador in Berne had explained the country’s legal procedure and notified them to allow the victim to provide a statement first.”
Asked about the allegations made by the Opposition regarding this incident, State Foreign Relations Minister Susil Premajayantha said that the Opposition had been engaging in mudslinging to tarnish the image of the President. Premajayantha said that the Police should question the relevant opposition MP about the claim he had made and ask how he had come to know of these details and whether the so called victim had any communication with that MP.