The US has imposed sanction on another Sri Lankan military officer, Major Prabath Bulathwatte who was arrested on suspicion that he had assisted in the abduction and torture of senior Sri Lankan journalist Keith Noyahr in 2008.
The US took this action on Friday on the occasion of International Anti-Corruption Day and on the eve of International Human Rights Day as part of its actions to promote accountability for corruption and human rights abuse around the world.
According to the State Department, the US imposed sanction Prabath Bulathwatte, former head of a clandestine Army platoon, known as the ‘Tripoli Platoon.’
Pursuant to Section 7031(c), the Department of State is designating Bulathwatte for his involvement in a gross violation of human rights, namely torture and/or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of Sri Lankan journalist Keith Noyahr in May 2008, the office of the spokesperson of the US Department of State said.
According to the office, On the occasion of International Anti-Corruption Day and on the eve of International Human Rights Day, the United States is taking the actions to promote accountability for corruption and human rights abuse around the world.
These actions include financial sanctions, using Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Act, and four additional country-focused Executive Orders. The actions also include visa restrictions pursuant to Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2022 (Div. K, P.L. 117-103), as carried forward by the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2023 (Div. A, P.L. 117-180) and pursuant to Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
All property and interests in property of individuals or entities designated under E.O.s 14024, 13818, 13722, 13687, or 13553 that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50% or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or otherwise exempt, all transactions by US persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons are prohibited. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.
Section 7031(c) provides that in cases where there is credible information that officials of foreign governments have been involved in significant corruption or a gross violation of human rights, those individuals and their immediate family members are generally ineligible for entry into the United States and must be either publicly or privately designated. INA Section 212(a)(3)(C) provides grounds for the Secretary of State to exclude any alien whose entry he determines would have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States.
In February 2020, the US had also imposed sanctions on former Army Commander and Cheif of Defence Staff Genaral Shavendra Silva for alleged war crimes committed at final stages of the conflict against the Tamil Tigers in 2009. (Darshana Sanjeewa Balasuriya)