Sri Lanka's president Gotabaya Rajapaksa smiles as he speaks at a ministerial swearing-in ceremony at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Nov. 27. He named his brother prime minister and the two have lost no time going after enemies including a police inspector who had investigated them and was concerned enough about their return to power to seek asylum in Switzerland. Photo: AFP / Tharaka Basnayaka / NurPhoto

A Sri Lankan working at the Swiss embassy in Colombo, who sparked a diplomatic spat after claiming she was kidnapped and forced to divulge sensitive information, was arrested Monday for allegedly making a false accusation.

The Swiss embassy said the woman was abducted and sexually assaulted by unidentified attackers on November 25, a day after a Sri Lankan police inspector investigating cases involving the powerful Rajapaksa family sought asylum in Switzerland.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa currently serves as president. His brother and former president Mahinda is the current prime minister.

But Sri Lanka has steadfastly questioned her account and she was arrested after the country’s attorney general recommended that she be named as a suspect.

The woman is suspected of “exciting disaffection against the government and fabricating false evidence to be used in a judicial proceeding,” a spokeswoman for the attorney general said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear if the embassy staffer – who was questioned by police over several days and was subjected to medical exams – had been formally charged.

The case has sparked a diplomatic row between Colombo and Bern, which has stood by its employee and her account of her kidnapping.

On Monday, Switzerland criticized her arrest and the “lack of due process in the case,” and has asked for evidence corroborating their claim that she made anything up.

In a statement, the Swiss foreign ministry called on Sri Lankan judicial authorities to “ensure better protection of its employee’s personal rights in any further proceedings, and compliance with national law and international standards.”

It also lamented that the woman had been interrogated by police for 30 hours over the course of three days, despite being in poor health, and that Sri Lankan officials had issued statements questioning her account before the investigation was completed.

“Switzerland wishes to emphasize that in this high-profile case, Sri Lanka’s reputation as a country that upholds the rule of law is at stake,” it said, calling for a “constructive” resolution to the matter.

The ministry said the Swiss ambassador in Colombo had met with Sri Lanka’s president on Monday to discuss the case.


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