HRW: Tissanayagam's detention violates international law
[TamilNet, Friday, 08 August 2008, 11:03 GMT]
Expressing deep concern at Sri Lanka Government's "disregard for Sri Lankan and international law," the Human Rights Watch (HRW), a New York based rights watchdog, in a press release issued Friday said, Tissainayagam and two others arrested by Sri Lanka's Terrrorism Investigation Division (TID) "have spent more than 150 days in custody, yet no charges have been filed and no evidence of any crime has been produced...If the authorities have no credible basis to charge Tissainayagam and the two others, they should be immediately released.
"The government has yet to provide reasons why the three were detained. Tissainayagam has been critical of the government on many issues. At the time of his arrest, government sources suggested that he may have connections to the armed separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), but have produced no evidence of this.
"Reports have suggested that Jasiharan and Valarmathy were detained due to their connections to Tissainayagam. Journalists and others who are vocal critics of the government are often accused of having links with the LTTE and branded as traitors and terrorists," the release said.
Expressing broad concern on the lack of due process, "independence and impartiality" of Attorney General's department, HRW added, "[n]one of the three detainees has had adequate access to counsel. Tissainayagam has been allowed visits by his lawyers only twice. On both occasions, police officers were present during the discussions, violating his right to communicate and consult with a lawyer in full confidentiality."
The attorney general should release the three, instead of continuing to violate their rights under domestic and international law, said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, adding, [b]y detaining a prominent government critic without charge, he [AG] is seriously risking the credibility of his office.
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