2ND LEAD (Adds video)
Sri Lankan TID releases Fr. Praveen, Ruki Fernando
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 19 March 2014, 07:51 GMT]
While the Sri Lankan Government delegation in Geneva responded Tuesday evening defending the claims of the Sri Lankan Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) to the concerns raised by several NGOs against the TID detention of the Human Rights defenders Rev Fr Praveen and Mr Ruki Fernando, both the human rights activists were released a few hours later by the TID due to mounting pressure abroad and in the island. The SL delegation in Geneva came with a ‘point of order’ statement saying that both the activists were linked to someone named K.P Selvanayagam alias Gobi, who had been overseas and was ‘reviving the LTTE’ through ‘regrouping unemployed local youth’. Tamil activist Jeyakumari was in detention for harbouring Gobi, the SL delegation said.
Fr Praveen and Fernando have been released without any charges, news sources in Colombo told TamilNet Wednesday morning. The Sri Lankan delegation in Geneva stated the following on the detention of Fr Praveen and Ruki Fernando:
Investigations revealed that K.P. Selvanayagam a.k.a. Gobi who had been overseas and returned to Sri Lanka was actively involved in reviving the LTTE through regrouping LTTE cadres and recruiting unemployed local youth with the intention of using them for acts of terrorism.
At this residence, the landlady Balendran Jeyakumari and her 13 year old daughter Vibooshika were present. Since suspect Gobi while being armed escaped, a search was carried out on the said residence. A Menelab F-3 type mine detector was recovered. Therefore, Ms. Jeyakumari was placed under arrest on suspicion of aiding and abetting Gobi in his activities.
“The detention on 16th March of Mr. Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen under the PTA were in connection with the aforesaid investigation into attempts to revive the LTTE by operatives, including the recovery of the arms caché at Vishwamadu and the shooting incident in Dharmapuram involving Gobi.
“Investigations have revealed that Mr. Fernando and Father Praveen had been in Killinochchi engaging with persons connected to Gobi. Their questioning is continuing at present to ascertain the whereabouts of Gobi and other related operatives.”
“The above actions taken by the Law Enforcement Authorities of Sri Lanka are well within the existing legal framework and following due process.”* * *
Northern Provincial Council (NPC) members on Tuesday took to the streets taking a break from their 5th sittings at Kaithadi.
The protest, led by NPC Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran, demanded immediate release of prominent human rights activists Rev Fr Praveen and Mr Ruki Fernando.
The NPC councilors also called for immediate release of Tamil activist Ms Jeyakumari.
The NPC councilors further condemned the terror let loose by the Sri Lankan military. They condemned the military establishment for staging scenes to trap rights activists in the Tamil homeland.
NPC councillors protest against the TID arrest of rights activists Fr Praveen, Ruki Fernanado and Ms Jeyakumari