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Rajapaksa's brother returns to Lanka, keen to contest presidential polls

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo 

Former Sri Lankan Rajapaksa's brother on Friday returned to the island nation and said he has taken necessary steps to denounce his US citizenship to be able to contest the presidential polls later this year.

Former Gotabhaya is being promoted as the main candidate from the camp to face the next later this year as cannot constitutionally run for a third term.

Gotabhaya, who is a dual-citizen of and the US, returned to the country after a private visit to the US and said that during his stay in he has taken the necessary steps to denounce the US citizenship.

I have taken all necessary steps Rajapaksa said, addressing reporters upon his return from the US.

Gotabhaya, who under his brother's decade-old rule between 2005 and 2015 spearheaded the military onslaught against the LTTE, will have to renounce his dual citizenship to be able to contest the to be held between mid November and mid December this year.

While in the US, the of the opposition party Podujana Peramuna Rajapaksa have been served notices charging him in two cases on torture and murder during war time.

One of the cases was filed by the daughter of the of the Sunday Leader, while the other lawsuit was filed by a rights group on the behalf of a Tamil torture survivor, Roy Samathnam, who is a

Gotabhaya said both cases were politically motivated to deter him, from becoming the candidate.

Samathnam had claimed that in September 2007 he was held by the police's Terrorism Investigation Division who was reporting directly to Gotabhaya in his role as the top bureaucrat in the defence ministry.

Samathnam has claimed he was psychologically and physically tortured by the and was forced to sign a false confession about his links to the who ran a bloody armed conflict in the north and east of to carve out a separate Tamil homeland.

The Sri Lankan editor's murder in 2009 under Rajapaksa presidency was cited as a main human rights violation during which time Sri Lanka was termed as one of the worst places for journalism.

The editor's daughter, Ahimsa Wickrematunga, is seeking compensatory and punitive damages against Gotabhaya for allegedly instigating and authorising the murder of her father.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, April 12 2019. 15:15 IST