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Labour MPs call for expulsion of Sri Lanka’s Defence Attaché from the UK following ‘throat-cutting gestures’

Joan Ryan MP and Siobhain McDonagh MP have called on the Foreign Secretary to “withdraw Brigadier Priyanka Fernando’s diplomatic papers and expel him” from the UK, after he was filmed making ‘throat-cutting gestures’ to Tamils protesting outside the Sri Lankan High Commission in London, on Sunday 4 February.

Ms Ryan and Ms McDonagh, the Vice Chair and Senior Vice Chair of the Tamil All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), also said in their letter to Boris Johnson MP that the conduct of Brigadier Fernando – Sri Lanka’s Defence Attaché to the UK – was “inappropriate, unacceptable and threatening […] from someone who is serving in an official capacity as a guest of this country.”

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Sen Kandiah, Chair of Tamils for Labour, said:
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“Brigadier Priyanka Fernando’s behaviour is despicable.

His actions were clearly an attempt to intimidate and silence peaceful protests opposed to the on-going persecution of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka.

Given the Sri Lankan military’s long history of committing human rights violations and alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity on Tamils, the Defence Attaché’s threats must be taken seriously by the UK Government.

I support the calls from Joan Ryan MP and Siobhain McDonagh MP. The Foreign Secretary must expel Brigadier Fernando from the UK without delay.”