Sri lanka attache to be retired in UK over "throat cutting' gesture


A former Sri Lankan defence attache to the U.K., who faced private prosecution over a “throat-cutting gesture" made to Tamil protesters outside the country’s London Embassy, is to face a new trial in May, after the judge decided the case needed to be re-tried following a technicality.

● It came after a previous hearing at which the judge had conduded that while the attache‚ Brigadier priyankara Fernando, was covered by diplomatic immunity on the day of the incident‚ he was no longer a diplomat and as the role he was carrying out didn‘t count as an “act performed in the exercise of his functions”, he no longer had diplomatic immunity.

● “It was not part of Brigadier Fernando’s job description to make the alleged cut-throat gestures on the three occasions‚ it could not be part of the mission’s function,” concluded Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot of Westminster Magistrates Court, in a hearing earlier this year. However, at a hearing on Friday, it was decided that the case should be reheard on May 7, after it emerged the court had failed to notify the private prosecutors and the defence team of documents that had been forwarded to it relating to notification given to Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office around the case.

● The alleged incident occurred on February 4, 2018 (Sri Lanka’s independence day) when Tamil protesters gathered outside the nation’s Embassy in London, some waving Tamil Eelam flags, some carrying placards calling for the release of political prisoners in Sri Lanka. It is alleged that during this time, Brigadier Fernando, a former member of the Sri Lankan Army’s 59 division which was involved in many of the frontline battles With the LTTE made three “throat cutting gestures” towards the protesters while dressed ln milltary uniform.

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