Sri Lanka to use top Tiger as state witness

08:58, June 13, 2011      

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The Sri Lankan government said Sunday that it is prepared to use a top Tamil Tiger rebel who is in Sri Lankan custody, as a state witness to gather more information about the operations of the terrorist outfit.

Former Tamil Tiger chief arms procurer Kumaran Padmanathan has been in the custody of the Sri Lankan government after he was arrested in Malaysia in 2009, but has yet to be produced in a civil court.

Sri Lankan government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told Xinhua that the Sri Lankan authorities may use Padmanathan as a " crown witness" which does not require him to be presented in court.

Padmanathan is also on the INTERPOL most wanted list over the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

The former Indian prime minister was assassinated by a suspected Tamil Tiger rebel in 1991 and an Indian court issued a warrant for Padmanathan's arrest over his possible links in the killing.

Rambukwella said while Padmanathan is now in the "custody" of the defense ministry he may not end up in court if it is felt he can further assist the government to crack Tamil Tiger overseas operations.

Padmanathan has also been used to lure the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora to support the Sri Lankan government in its post war development efforts.

In recent interviews with the Sri Lankan and foreign media Padmanathan has been quoted as urging the Tamils to forget the past and look to the future.

The bitter conflict between the Sri Lankan military and the Tamil Tigers came to an end in May 2009 with the defeat of the rebels.

A panel appointed by the Secretary General of the United Nations said in a report that over 40,000 Tamils were killed during the final stage of the conflict, and accused both the Sri Lankan military and the Tamil Tigers of committing war crimes.

Source: Xinhua
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