Sri Lanka shutting down war scrutiny: Australia senator

Sri Lanka shutting down war scrutiny: Australia senator

SYDNEY - An Australian senator briefly detained in Sri Lanka returned home Monday and accused Colombo of trying to "shut down" scrutiny of war crimes before a Commonwealth summit.

Sri Lanka is facing international censure over alleged war crimes, and its hosting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) this week has become mired in controversy as demands mount for it to address the allegations.

Australian Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon was picked up by authorities in Colombo and interrogated on Sunday, and said she believed it was because the Sri Lankan government "does not want scrutiny of what is happening in that country".

"The war crimes need to be investigated; the crimes against humanity clearly continue, the evidence is very strong," she said.

"The Sri Lankan government want to shut down those messages."

Rhiannon urged Australia's conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott not to attend CHOGM, saying: "Surely they should take a leaf from the Canadians."

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is boycotting the summit to protest at Sri Lanka's failure to investigate its troops over allegations they killed up to 40,000 civilians in 2009 in the final stages of the civil war against Tamil Tiger rebels.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also pulled out.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron plans to attend but has promised to push for an international probe into the alleged war crimes and human rights abuses.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key will attend, but has said this does not imply support for the Sri Lankan government.

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