Sunday, 2 March 2008

Illegal Custody in Sri Lanka

I am printing this letter which has come to me so that you may be aware of the tense situation in Sri Lanka and to give you the chance to help by your action and/or prayers.

“I am a ministerial candidate of the Methodist Church in Sri Lanka and am presently studying at the Theological College of Lanka, Pilimatalawa. I was shocked to hear of an incident concerning my brother and brother-in-law.

On 30/1/2008 my brother, Mr. Thevaraj Pakiyarasa, and my brother-in-law, Mr. Sudarshan Selvarajah, were taken into custody by the Narahenpitiye Police on suspicion while they had gone to collect the passport of Mr. Thevaraj at the Passport Office in Borella. They had both come out of the Passport Office as they had been asked to collect the passport in the evening. So my brother-in-law suggested that they visited one of his friends who is working in Colombo. Unfortunately, they were then taken into police custody on suspicion.

They have shown their identity cards and explained to the Police why they had come to Colombo. But the Police keep on asking what has happened to the other person whom the Police believe had travelled with them, even though the two travelled on their own. The two have told the Police that only they came to Colombo to get a passport. However, theya re still kept in Police custody without any further interrogation. My brother is married and they have one son aged just six months.

These two men are entirely innocent and are being kept in custody without any accusation or charge. I feel that keeping people in custody in these circumstances is a violation of their human rights. My paents are unable to travel such a distance to visit every week because of financial difficulties. I humbly request you to take the necessary action to get them released without delay.”

Brother P. Arulraj

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