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* Priest questioned by Sri Lanka police over Tamil war memorial leaves country on a short-term fellowship
Wed, Aug 9, 2017, 12:24 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Aug 09, Colombo: Father Elil Rajendram, a Tamil Catholic Priest belonging to the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), based in Mullaitivu, Northern Sri Lanka has received an overseas short-term fellowship, Amnesty International said.

Father Elil Rajendram was summoned by Sri Lanka police several times in May 2017 to question him for hosting a memorial for war dead in the North.

The police obtained a court order preventing the priest from presiding over a ceremony to add some stones bearing the names of Tamils who had died during the war.

Since being summoned for questioning by the Sri Lankan police on four separate occasions, Father Elil successfully secured a court order directing the police not to question him further.

The AI said as a result of several weeks of surveillance and harassment, there were fears for his safety.

While police investigations of others suspected of involvement in the case were allowed to continue, Father Elil Rajendram was successful in securing a court order on 31 May 2017 directing the police not to question him further. His lawyer has filed a revision appeal in the Vavuniya High Courts. The next Court hearing of the appeal is 9th August. He is now safely out of the country on a short-term Fellowship which will allow him to recover from the harassment he received.

"In terms of his personal safety, he now has respite from harassment and is out of the country on a short-term fellowship," the AI said.

International pressure helped raise the profile of his situation and the Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission was able to highlight in court their concerns on issues of freedom of expression and the right to memorialization.


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