Crackdown on Students Spreads Further
Amnesty action re students Dec 11 2012
One student is believed to have been released on bail, but many more have been arrested. Several are held incommunicado, putting them at much greater risk of torture.
One of the four detained students, Kaneshamurthy Sudarsan, has been released on bail, according to local press. P. Tharshananth, Sanmugam Solaman and K.Jenemajeyamenan are still in Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) custody. They are not known to have been produced before either the Vavuniya or Jaffna Magistrate and their families have been given no written notification of their detention or the charges against them. Officials at the TID Office in Vavuniya refused to allow Sanmugam Solaman’s parents to visit him, and told them that the students had been transferred to a “Rehabilitation” center in Welikanda, a long way from Jaffna.
Local press quoted police as saying the students had been arrested in connection with their alleged involvement in a petrol bomb attack on the office of a local political organization, as well as their involvement in organizing demonstrations. However, faculty members with the Jaffna University Science Teachers’ Association said in a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 7 December that the petrol bomb was only a pretext to detain and harass student leaders and that the students “had nothing to do with bomb throwing.” They expressed opposition to the use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act against non-violent political activities and opinion.
On the morning of 6 December, a man claiming to be with the TID presented the University of Jaffna administration with a list of 10 students the university should hand over to the Jaffna Police Station, without giving any reason. The Dean of the medical faculty handed over five students to the authorities that day. A sixth student from the Management Faculty was handed over by his father; all six were interrogated, and released on 10 December. Three others surrendered to the Human Rights Commission on 7 December and later to the TID were also interrogated for several days and released. Student Union President V. Bhavananadan surrendered to the Human Rights Commission in Jaffna on 7 December and later turned himself in to the TID. His whereabouts are unknown.
Further information on UA: 347/12 Index: ASA 37/015/2012 Sri Lanka