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* Sri Lanka explains the arrests of rights activists to UNHRC
Wed, Mar 19, 2014, 12:01 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 18, Geneva: Sri Lanka today explained to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) the investigations that led to the arrest and detention of three activists suspected of supporting subversive activities in violation of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) in the conflict-affected North.

Exercising its Right of Reply on statements made regarding the arrest and detention of Ms. Balendran Jeyakumari and the detention of Mr. Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen, the Government of Sri Lanka detailed to the Human Rights Council today (March 18th), the sequence of events preceding the arrests.

Sri Lanka said Ms. Jeyakumari was placed under arrest on suspicion of aiding and abetting K.P. Selvanayagam a.k.a. 'Gobi' who is believed to be leading the revival of the LTTE in Sri Lanka, while Mr. Fernando and Father Praveen have been detained as it has been revealed that they have been in Kilinochchi engaging with persons connected to Gobi. Their questioning is continuing at present, to ascertain the whereabouts of Gobi and other related operatives.

According to the statement delivered at the UNHRC Tuesday, Gobi has been involved in recruiting unemployed local youth to revive the LTTE and in the process of recovering arm caches hidden in the North by the terrorist organization during the war.

The police and army teams had been deployed to arrest the absconding suspect and recover the hidden arm caches.

The Terrorist Investigations Division (TID) had recovered an arms cache including mortar and RPG type live ammunition, 3 hand grenades, 2.5 kg claymore bomb and ammunition for T-56 weapons.

Pursuant to this recovery, and a lead obtained on the whereabouts of Gobi, a team of Police Officers proceeded to the residence of Balendran Jeyakumari in Kilinochchi and during the search operation Gobi had fired at the Police, injuring a sub-Inspector and escaped.

A search in Jeyakumari's residence found A Menelab F-3 type mine detector, and therefore, Ms. Jeyakumari was placed under arrest on suspicion of aiding and abetting Gobi in his activities, the UNHRC was told.

Since Ms. Jeyakumari was unable to provide an appropriate caregiver/relative to keep her 13 year old daughter, she was taken along with the mother and produced before the Kilinochchi Magistrate who had ordered placing the child under the care of Probation and Child Care Services.

Sri Lanka said the arrest was made under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and the ICRC has access to all detainees being held at Boossa Detention Center.

Sri Lanka further expressed regret that the Council was misinformed by an elected member of the Northern Provincial Council, Ms. Ananthi Sasitharan depicting it as an arrest made of a child who had participated in protests.

The Sri Lankan delegation also noted that Ms. Sasitharan, in referring in her statements to the Council to "Tamil Eelam", has failed to adhere to the agreed language of the United Nations, and is in violation of the Constitution she has pledged to uphold as a Provincial Councilor.

Explaining the detentions on 16th March of Mr. Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen under the PTA, the Sri Lankan representative said their detentions were in connection with the investigation into Gobi's attempts to revive the LTTE by operatives, including the recovery of the arms cache at Vishwamadu and the shooting incident in Dharmapuram in Kilinochchi.

Investigations have revealed that Mr. Fernando and Father Praveen had been in Kilinochchi engaging with persons connected to Gobi. Their questioning is continuing at present to ascertain the whereabouts of Gobi and other related operatives, the Council was told.

Sri Lanka said the actions taken by the law enforcement authorities of Sri Lanka are well within the existing legal framework and following due process.

The delegation also pointed out that these developments also underscore the need to be vigilant on the activities of the remnants of the terrorist group, considering its bearing on national security.

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