Sri Lanka releases prominent human rights defender on bail

March 11, 2015

<p>Tamil rights activist Balendran Jeyakumari (center) stands with supporters after being released on bail yesterday (Credit: ucanews.com) </p>

Tamil rights activist Balendran Jeyakumari (center) stands with supporters after being released on bail yesterday (Credit: ucanews.com)

So, maybe things are slowly changing in the right direction in Sri Lanka. On Tuesday 10 March, human rights defender, Balendran Jeyakumari, arrested 13  March last year,  was released on bail. [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/sri-lanka-release-of-mr-ruki-fernando-and-rev-praveen-mahesan/]

Balendran was detained for nearly a year under the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), which was oft used under the regime of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa to silence dissenters. Balendran had campaigned against enforced disappearances in north but she was often threatened and intimidated. After her detention, no charges were filed against her.

We welcome the release of the involuntary disappearances activist from more than 360 days of detention. Jeyakumari is not the only victim of unlawful detention,” said fellow human rights defender Britto Fernando. He called on the government to repeal the PTA, which has frequently been employed to justify the arrest and detention of activists and rights defenders. Hundreds of journalists, rights activists and LTTE suspects have been punished over the years under the draconian piece of legislation — with some imprisoned for 10 years without trial.

Three days after Jeyakumari’s, arrest Ruki Fernando and Praveen Mahesan were arrested when they visited to look into Jeyakumari’s case.nAfter calls from foreign governments and rights groups they were released. However, Fernando was banned from speaking to the media about his arrest. “Her release will bring hope to other political prisoners, some of whom are in detention for years without cases being concluded and others are in detention for years without even any charges,” he said.

Sri Lanka releases prominent Tamil rights activist on bail ucanews.com.

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