Swiss Embassy worker detained in Sri Lanka gets bail
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A Sri Lankan Court on Monday granted bail to a Swiss Embassy employee who was detained pending charges that she made statements to create disaffection toward the government and fabricated evidence.
Before her arrest, the employee, a Sri Lankan national, had reportedly said she was abducted, held for hours, sexually assaulted and threatened by captors who demanded that she disclose embassy-related information.
Sri Lankan authorities have said they investigated her complaint but found no evidence to file charges against anyone. Instead, they are now investigating the woman for allegedly fabricating evidence and causing disaffection toward the government.
On Monday, a court in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital, granted the woman bail after two weeks of detention, local television channel Sirasa reported.
The Swiss foreign ministry has previously called the alleged Nov. 25 abduction of the embassy employee a “very serious and unacceptable attack” and summoned Sri Lanka’s ambassador to demand an investigation. It also criticized a lack of due process in the case.
The Sri Lankan government has insisted that evidence collected by its investigators did not support the sequence of events provided by the embassy that the woman had been abducted by captors who demanded she reveal unspecified information about the embassy.
Sri Lanka also rejected a request by the embassy to fly the employee and her family to Switzerland.
Before the woman was detained, she was summoned to Sri Lanka’s Criminal Investigations Department to make statements and was subjected to medical tests and a psychiatric analysis.
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa later said he had become the victim in the alleged abduction because foreign media reported about it before the facts were established and critics accused his government of carrying it out.
Rajapaksa became president after winning a Nov. 16 election. Shortly after that, a Sri Lankan police investigator, Nishantha Silva, fled to Switzerland.
Silva had been investigating alleged abductions, torture, killings and enforced disappearances of journalists and activists while Rajapaksa was defense chief under the presidency of his brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been accused of overseeing what were known as “white van” abduction squads that whisked away critics. Some were returned after being tortured, while others were never seen again. He has denied the allegations.