Rights activists released

A Colombo magistrate ordered their release though police spokesman Ajith Rohana said that the investigation which led to their arrests would continue.

Sri Lanka
Mar 20 2014, 3:41 PM
Rights activists released
Sri Lankan media rights activists shout slogans as they protest against the alleged media suppression in Colombo.

Human rights activists Father Praveen Maheshan and Ruki Fernando, arrested on March 16 and detained under a draconian law meant for terrorists in northern Sri Lanka’s Kilinochchi, were released on Wednesday.

A Colombo magistrate ordered their release though police spokesman Ajith Rohana said that the investigation which led to their arrests would continue.

The Ministry for Defence had accused the activists of "causing discomfort to the government and earning money by sharing information with foreign countries."

After his release, Fernando said that prayers of friends and colleagues in Sri Lanka and around the world had guaranteed their safety even as he thanked God for hearing their prayers.

Amnesty and other international rights organisations had issued a joint statement on Monday asking the Sri Lankan government to release the activists.

The rights groups had asked the international community to judge Sri Lanka by its actions and not by its promises at the UNHRC voting. A resolution on Sri Lanka’s failure to address accountability is under discussion and will be voted on soon at the ongoing UNHRC sessions in Geneva.

The groups argued that the arrest of Father Praveen and Fernando is yet another example of Sri Lankan government’s attempts to intimidate and silence its critics.

Father Praveen Mahesan is the director of the Centre for Peace and Reconciliation in Jaffna and Ruki Fernando is special advisor at the Colombo-based NGO INFORM.

Source:  Vatican Radio website

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