Sri Lanka Bows to Pressure; Releases Rights Activists

Rights Activists were detained under Prevention of Terrorism Act for inciting communal disharmony and dissent.

Published: 19th March 2014 04:07 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th March 2014 04:07 PM   |  A+A-


Under international pressure ahead of voting on a resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC, the authorities here have released two leading rights activists after their detention under anti-terrorism laws.            

Father Praveen Mahesan, a Catholic priest, and Ruki Fernando of the Colombo-based INFORM advocacy group were arrested on Sunday in the former LTTE stronghold of Kilinochchi in the north as they met Tamils who lost loved ones during the separatist conflict.  

They were detained under Prevention of Terrorism Act for inciting communal disharmony and dissent.            

"They were produced last night before the lady magistrate at court No 2 in Hulfsdorp. She ordered their release," police spokesman Ajith Rohana said today.

The arrests were made ahead of a key meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva later this month that is expected to pass a US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka over its alleged rights abuses during the war with the LTTE.    

The governments of the US and the UK as well as several international rights groups had expressed concern over the arrests and demanded their immediate release.    

The US has said that proposed international investigation on Sri Lanka's alleged rights abuses has become all the more important given incidents such as the recent arrests.


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