The Sunday TimesNews/Comment

5th January 1997



Politicians condemn intimidation

Both government and opposition politicians joined to condemn the government action to initiate action against TNL News Director Ishini Wickremesinghe Perera for telecasting a news item regarding an attack on the Vellaveli camp in the Batticaloa district.

Dr. Sarath Amunugama, a UNP MP and former Director of Information said, "We strongly protest the way the PA is handling the media. The PA is using the Prevention of Terrorism Act to muzzle the press. The Press has the right to report on what's happening in the north and east."

TULF MP Joseph Pararajasingham said: "The Constitution itself guarantees freedom of expression, therefore no party should harass the press."

He said the reality would not come to light if the government starts harassing the media.

Labour Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa said: "When you deal with trade unions and media personnel we should not treat them like terrorists. We don't condone such acts."

The Minister reiterated that the PA will work to implement their media policy.

Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) leader, Dinesh Gunawardena said the executive presidential powers were being used to control the media "The government came to power promising more freedom to the media, but the situation is turning the other way", Mr. Gunawardena said.

The leader of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress, Kumar Ponnambalam said the government is now using its strong arm to control the media. Nobody will accept this type of harassment.

"If this situation continues it could lead to a worse situation. Therefore the government should allow the media to express their views", he said.

- CK

Pseudo diplomat's paedophile palace in Kalutara

By a staff reporter

A teacher from Valais, Switzerland, suspected of paedophilia and arrested in November at Sion, was due to arrive in his palatial house in Kalutara to spend a dream winter in a paradise of coconut trees and the clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean.

But this year it was different. The 56-year-old bachelor, a teacher for nearly two decades at the professional centre in Sion and former hotelier, watches the rain from behind bars in the prison in Valere.

It was end of the road for the bachelor when a woman telephoned the International Committee for the Dignity of the Child (ICDC) known to Swiss as the CIDE, telling them that a fifty-year-old teacher was living with a young Sri Lankan of 14 years.

The informer specified that the flat in which they lived was only a bedsitter in which she had noticed last August photos of naked children. She was also convinced that the two inhabitants slept in the same bed. Besides, she said that the teacher owned a house in Sri Lanka.

Reports say, in Sri Lanka the teacher owned a house in Kalutara in which he generally spent four months each winter. The Swiss flag was flown when he was in residence, making the people think that he was a diplomat.

According to the ICDC "The authorities are afraid and keep the house at a distance, they suspected unsavoury activities at the Castle for several years."

The ICDC equally explains that the inhabitants of the area, poor and ignorant, voluntarily sell their children for a little money, for they thought him a rich foreigner ready to "help the young poor" of Sri Lanka, a canard that he himself had allegedly spread through his acolytes.

Inquiries have revealed that this Swiss abused teenagers who lived in his beautiful house, pushing them to prostitution with some of his friends, under the pretext that they suffered sickness and had to be massaged. The masseurs were paid for their services, the ICDC revealed.

Meanwhile, the arrest of the alleged child trafficker in Switzerland was given wide publicity in the newspapers like "Societe" of December 4 1996, with blown up pictures of the teacher, the young Lankan boy and some police officers at his home.

The ICDC further claims that the alleged paedophile from Valais is the kingpin of an international network of child traffickers and he had invited the young Lankans to Switzerland. During his stay in Switzerland some years ago one of his alleged victims had tried to commit suicide by setting himself on fire. Hospitalised, he had later returned to Sri Lanka where he is today married and continues to work for the Swiss national guarding his house and recruiting children on the beach, the report adds.

He had welcomed to his house a Sri Lankan of 14 under the pretext of offering him training. "It is disconcerting to think with what ease the proteges of this person obtained their residence permits."

According to the ICDC President George Glatz, who does not hide the fact that the teacher well known in Valais and member of several associations, undoubtedly benefited from the support obtained from those highly placed.

The 14-year-old from Sri Lanka was in Valais in April 1996 who has been identified as Asitha. The Swiss authorities on the future of Asitha have envisaged three solutions: "Placing him in an institution, in a welcoming family to further his studies or a return to Sri Lanka."

The Judge of Central Valais confirmed the arrest of the 56-year-old alleged paedophile domiciled in Sion on November 25. The Auxiliary Master of the Centre for Professional Training in Sion, he has been charged with endangering the development of minors, according to Article 187 of the Penal Code (Infraction against the Sexual Integrity of Children). Under the pretext of an educational stay he had welcomed to his house a Sri Lankan child of 14.

A bachelor, he had succeeded in obtaining all the necessary authorisation to bring the boy to Switzerland, the report added.

There had been instances where several witnesses had said that he had been seen with Asian adolescents. Video cassettes and photos were found in his home.

He visited Sri Lanka frequently where he lived for three to four months each year. In Valais he led an active social life. Two years ago, he sold his Hotel Castle in Sion to establish a school of tourism in Sri Lanka.

Two years ago the Swiss national had invited some friends to his palatial home in Kalutara, he also organised trips to Sri Lanka and invited them to his house where boys of ten to 15 had to massage these supposedly sick visitors, the ICDC had learnt.

"He received us, in the company of several Police officers and personalities of Kalutara," recalls one member.

Asitha was not the first Sri Lankan kept by this person. In 1985 another Lankan had gone to Sion. He had been identified as Michael (21). Another Lankan identified as Samantha too had spent three weeks in Sion on holiday.

Return to the News/Comment contents page

Go to the News/Comment Archive


Home Page Front Page OP/ED Plus Sports

Please send your comments and suggestions on this web site to or to