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Fonseka's arrest aimed to suppress war crimes: Tamil Canadians

world Updated: Feb 09, 2010 11:55 IST

Calling the arrest of former Sri Lankan army chief Sarath Fonseka "the murder of dissent'' by Colombo, Sri Lankan Tamils in Canada have sought immediate international trial of President Mahinda Rajapaksa for war crimes.

"If Rajapaksa can do this to his former chief, what can Tamils expect from his government? These four brothers (President Rajapaksha and his three brothers) will never give anything to Tamils,'' said Canadian Tamil Congress spokesman David Popalapillai here Monday.

He said, "More than 100,000 Tamils are still in detention, and the future of the community is not safe under this increasingly authoritarian leadership.''

The former army chief, who was at loggerheads with Rajapaksa over the credit for eliminating the Tamil Tigers and later contested against him in the last month's presidential elections, was arrested Monday.

The arrest comes after Fonseka reportedly agreed to give evidence against the president for war crimes. "I am prepared to go before any investigation and give evidence...I am not prepared to protect anyone, if they have committed war crimes. It is unpatriotic to protect anyone who has committed war crimes,'' the former army chief reportedly said recently.

"The arrest of Sarath Fonseka shows how far the leadership is willing to go to suppress the fact that war crimes were committed against the Tamil population,'' said Poopalapillai,

The arrest also shows how quickly Sri Lanka is turning into another authoritarian regime on the lines of Myanmar and Iran, the Tamil Canadian leader said.

"The Sri Lanka of today is an Orwellian state where dissent is brutally repressed as human rights defenders, journalists and opposition politicians face death threats, disappearances or jail,'' he said.

He urged the international community to impose embargo on the country and try Rajapaksa for war crimes - like Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic - and punish him. There are more than 300,000 Sri Lankan Tamils in Canada, making them the largest diaspora group outside Sri Lanka.