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Swiss embassy staffer ‘detained’ in Colombo

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She was threatened to reveal sensitive information, says Switzerland

A local staff of the Embassy of Switzerland in Colombo has been “detained” and “threatened” in what the Swiss Foreign Ministry on Wednesday called a “serious security incident”.

The Swiss Ambassador to Sri Lanka met Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, and sought “an immediate and complete investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident” and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

Swiss authorities have also sought a guarantee of the security of the Swiss representation in Colombo and its employees, a spokesperson of the Swiss Foreign Ministry said

‘Unacceptable attack’

“We can confirm that a local employee of the embassy was detained against her will on the street and threatened at length by unidentified men in order to force her to disclose embassy-related information. Switzerland regards this incident as a very serious and unacceptable attack on one of its diplomatic representations and its employees,” the Ministry spokesperson told The Hindu via email from Bern.

The development comes less than two weeks after the new government, helmed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, took charge in Colombo following Sri Lanka’s presidential poll.

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry is yet to comment on the development, and The Hindu was not able to reach its officials for comment.

A tweet from the verified Twitter handle of the Ministry said on Wednesday evening: “Swiss Ambassador Hanspeter Mock called on Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and discussed the progress of bilateral relations.”

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 4:41:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/swiss-embassy-staffer-detained-in-colombo/article30100987.ece

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