Police refuse information on journalist arrested under ER - FMM

[TamilNet, Monday, 22 August 2005, 16:52 GMT]
A Tamil journalist, Mr. Subramanium Ramesh, the Mawathagama correspondent for the Tamil language daily "Veerakesari", was arrested under Emergency Regulations sometime in the afternoon of 19 August 2005, said Free Media Movement in a news alert. FMM officials had called the officer in charge of Kurunagala police several times, but failed to obtain any information about the journalist. The Sri Lankan Police has been refusing to provide details on the arrest, the organisation said in the news release issued from Colombo on Monday. Meanwhile, The Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance has urged the Minister of Media Dilan Perera and the Police chief Chandra Fernando to release the Journalist.

Although FMM officials introduced themselves and asked for the name of the officer who answered the phone, he refused to identify himself and responded rudely, the FMM news release said.

ALERT - SRI LANKA
22 August 2005

Journalist arrested under emergency laws; police refuse to provide information

SOURCE: Free Media Movement (FMM), Colombo

(FMM/IFEX) - FMM has expressed serious concern over the Kurunagala police's refusal to provide information about journalist Subramanium Ramesh, the Mawathagama correspondent for the Tamil language daily "Veerakesaree", who was arrested under emergency laws sometime in the afternoon of 19 August 2005.

FMM accepts the security forces' right to arrest persons on suspicion, especially with regard to national security issues, but any arrest has to be carried out with due regard to the law.

FMM officials called the officer in charge of Kurunagala police several times, but failed to obtain any information about Ramesh. Although FMM officials introduced themselves and asked for the name of the officer who answered the phone, he refused to identify himself and responded rudely. FMM's secretary-general also reported Ramesh's arrest to Sri Lanka's Human Rights Commission.

Given Sri Lanka's history of tens of thousands of disappearances of arrested persons, FMM emphasises that the right to information about arrested persons has to be strictly enforced.

FMM deplores this police officer's behaviour and requests local, national and international human rights and press freedom organisations to write letters of concern. If this trend is not checked, FMM fears that emergency laws will be used against citizens on the whims of the authorities.

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send appeals to authorities:
- expressing serious concern over the lack of information about Ramesh

APPEALS TO:



Inspector General of Police
Police Headquarters
Colombo 2, Sri Lanka
Fax: +94 11 244 6174


Senior Superintendent of Police
Police Station
Colombo Road
Kurunagala, Sri Lanka
Tel/Fax: +94 37 222 2226

 

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