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Cablegate: Sri Lanka: Tigers Detain Gsl Child Protection

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (U) SUMMARY: Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam's (LTTE)
police force detained three special policemen from the
Government of Sri Lanka's (GSL) National Child Protection
Authority (NCPA) on September 13 after the GSL officers
crossed into LTTE-controlled territory in the north while
pursuing a suspected foreign sex offender. Although the Sri
Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) and UNICEF have intervened to
push for the policemen's release, the LTTE maintains the
three must remain in custody until a September 27 "trial" at
LTTE headquarters in Kilinochchi. While there have been rare
instances of the LTTE cooperating with GSL police in other
criminal cases in the past, this recent debacle reflects the
overall deterioration of GSL/LTTE relations, a breakdown
exacerbated by the September 8 closure of LTTE political
offices in GSL territory. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), UNICEF, the
Roman Catholic Church and the GSL are urging the Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to release three National Child
Protection Authority (NCPA) officers detained on September 13
after they crossed into LTTE-controlled territory in the
northern district of Mannar while pursuing a convicted UK sex
offender. Unarmed and in civilian clothes, the officers, who
were accompanied by two local Catholic priests and two female
NCPA officers, were stopped at an LTTE checkpoint near a
Tiger camp. (NOTE: Unlike the demilitarized zone of the
Omantai crossing, Mannar district does not have a
clearly-defined border between the GSL and LTTE lines. This
"western front" has traditionally been less volatile than the
north and east. END NOTE) While the priests were able to
negotiate the release of the two female officers, their male
colleagues were arrested and transferred to LTTE headquarters
in Kilinochchi for "trial". The suspected sex offender,
meanwhile, turned himself in to GSL authorities in Colombo on
September 14 and faces arraignment on September 30.

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3. (SBU) The LTTE has come under unaccustomed fire for the
detentions from the SLMM, which has pressed LTTE political
leader S. P. Tamilchelvan for the immediate release of the
policemen. So far the LTTE has resisted such pressure,
although it allowed SLMM officers to visit the three
policemen in Kilinochchi to verify their well-being. SLMM
spokesperson Helen Olafsdottir and UNICEF child protection
officer Victor Nylund told poloff they believe the
LTTE--which had coincidentally announced the formation of its
own version of a child protection unit in its "police force"
on September 7--realizes now it made a mistake in
apprehending the policemen but can find no face-saving way to
extricate itself. Olafsdottir and Nylund expect the LTTE
will have a "show trial" on September 27 and release the
officers thereafter.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: The GSL police and the LTTE have
historically used the LTTE political offices as conduits for
occasional, if infrequent, working level cooperation in
handing over suspects fleeing GSL authorities. The September
8 closure of these offices (Reftel), however, has lessened
the effectiveness of this potentially useful line of
communications. The inability of the LTTE to work with the
GSL to curb a suspected foreign pedophile is a reflection of
just how far GSL-LTTE relations have deteriorated over the
past few months.

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