UK’s action against Fernando was politically motivated

Sri Lanka Government on Saturday defended the action of one of its army officer charged by a UK court for making offensive gesture to LTTE supporters in London, saying that he is entitled to diplomatic immunity.

Brigadier Priyanka Fernando, who was posted as a defence advisor at the Sri Lankan embassy in London in 2018, on Friday in absentia was found guilty by the UK court for making a hand signal to slit throats of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) supporters, who had gathered with the outfit’s flag to protest the Sri Lankan Independence day in London on February 4, 2018.

Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry said that Fernando was entitled to diplomatic immunity as one of its diplomatic staff then based in London.

The foreign ministry also alleged that UK’s action against Fernando was politically motivated.

“Fernando’s conviction by the court where he had been ordered to pay a fine and compensation were action politically motivated by the UK ahead of next week’s UK parliamentary election,” the ministry claimed.

“The sequence of events the private prosecution, failure to uphold Brigadier Fernando’s diplomatic immunity, the timing of the delivering of the judgment on the eve of the UK election, the alleged unruly and intimidatory behaviour of the prosecution during the hearing make it abundantly clear that this is a politically motivated action,” ministry added.

Following the incident in 2018, Feranando was recalled to Colombo immediately and the Sri Lankan government then had recorded its displeasure to the British authorities over the incident.

Sri Lanka had also termed the prosecution as unlawful.