The Westminster Magistrates Court withdrew an arrest warrant for Sri Lankan Brigadier Priyanka Fernando, who was was accused of committing criminal offences under the British law, by threatening with a throat slashing gesture to the Tamil People who demonstrated waving the Tamil national flag in front of the Sri Lankan Embassy in London on 4th February 2018 which marks the 70th Independence Day of Sri Lanka and 70 years of Genocide of Tamils. This has raised serious concerns among human rights activists and organisations.
Following the trial, Public Interest Law Centre, which acting on behalf of the complainants, was contacted by Westminster Magistrates’ Court and was informed that the arrest warrant had been withdrawn and the matter relisted on 1 February 2019. The Court did not relist the matter before withdrawing the arrest warrant.
The Court asked the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to confirm whether the Brigadier enjoys immunity from prosecution.
“The Court asked the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to confirm whether the Brigadier enjoys immunity from prosecution. After the 21st January 2019 hearing, it has come to our attention, that the Sri Lankan Government acknowledged the proceedings in November 2018 and elected not to participate in the proceedings. A Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry spokesman, Saroja Sirisena, has also said publicly that the Sri Lankan Government had made submissions to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) objecting to the ruling of the court. According to Mr Sirisena, the FCO then contacted the Westminster Magistrates Court regarding those objections.4 It is unclear on what basis the FCO has sought to intervene in the judicial process.” Public Interest Law Centre said in a press release.