Patrick Leahy

Sri Lanka official denies allegations of torture, rape

Sri Lanka's defense secretary denied Tuesday that his country committed torture and rape of suspected rebels, as charged by more than 50 men of the island's Tamil ethnic minority who are seeking political asylum in Europe.

Kapila Waidyaratne called the claims of abuses "baseless and unfounded."

"The government of Sri Lanka is for zero tolerance with regard to sexual abuse and so on," Waidyaratne told The Associated Press as he attended the U.N. Peacekeeping Defense Ministerial conference in Vancouver.

The allegations came in a Nov. 8 report by the AP on the asylum seekers and their claims of being abducted and tortured by Sri Lanka's current...

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