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British govt. announces travel bans and asset freezes for human rights violators



By Sujeeva Nivunhella in London

The British government sounded a stern warning to, what it termed “human rights violators in the world” by announcing travel bans and freezing of assets of 11 Russian, Venezuelan, Gambian and Pakistani politicians and officials, on December 10, which marked International Human Rights Day.

Announcing the sanctions, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said, “Today’s sanctions send a clear message to human rights violators that the UK will hold them to account.

“The UK and our allies are shining a light on the severe and systematic human rights violations perpetrated by those sanctioned today. Globally Britain will stand up for democracy, human rights and the rule of law as a force for good in the world.”

The UK was acting alongside the US which also announced new designations under its human rights regime.

The British government was imposed sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, on three Russian individuals and the Terek Special Rapid Response Unit responsible for torture and other human rights violations against LGBT people in Chechnya.

Sanctions will be imposed on senior security figures in Venezuela responsible for human rights violations in Maduro’s illegitimate regime.

The former President of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh and Ahmad Anwar Khan, the former Senior Superintendent of Police in Malir District in Pakistan are also facing sanctions for “historic human rights violations including extrajudicial killings of protestors and minority groups”.


The full list of designations is as follows:


* Rafael Bastardo, Commander of FAES (Special Action Forces) until 2019.

* Remigio Ceballos Ichaso, Head of the Strategic Command Operations of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (CEOFANB)

* Fabio Zavarse Pabon, Commander of the National Guard (GNB).


Russian Federation

* Magomed Daudov, Spokesperson/Chairperson of the Parliament of the Chechen Republic.

* Aiub Kataev, Head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation in Argun.

* Apti Alaudinov, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of the Chechen Republic and Major General of the Police.

* Terek Special Rapid Response Unit,


The Gambia

* Yahya Abdul Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh, former President of The Gambia.

* Yankuba Badjie, former Director-General of the Gambian National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

* Zineb Jammeh, former First Lady of The Gambia

and wife of Yahya Jammeh.



* Anwar Ahmad Khan, former Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) in Malir District, Karachi.

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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’



By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam

The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.

Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.

A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.

The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.

According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.

The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.

DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners



By Norman Palihawadane

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.

Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.

The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered



A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.

Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.

The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.

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