Tamil Human Rights officer abducted in Colombo

[TamilNet, Saturday, 09 May 2009, 04:51 GMT]
Unidentified armed men in a white van, alleged to be Military Intelligence officers, Thursday night forcibly took away Stephen Sunthararaj, 39, the Project Manager of Centre for Human Rights and Development (CHRD) in Colpetty in Colombo, near Colombo Town Hall, sources in Colombo said. Sunthararaj, who had been arrested by Colpetty police 12 February, was released Thursday morning by Colombo Magistrate Court found not guilty of any offence, the sources added.

The abductors took Sunthararaj away while he was travelling in a vehicle with his family and relatives to a new place of residence, according to complaints made to Colpetty and Cinnamon Gardens police by his relatives.

The persons in the vehicle at the time of abduction alleged that abductors were Military Intelligence officers.

Stephen Sunthararaj, the father of three children, had been Assistant Social Science lecturer in Jaffna University from 2001 to 2005 and in Colombo University from 2003 to 2005.

Stephen had been interrogated by Criminal Investigation Police and Terrorist Investigation Department police when he was detained in Colpetty police station.

He had been released by the court when police told the magistrate that Stephen had no involvement with Liberation Tigers.

Stephen’s wife had refused to pay money to have him released when approached by a person who had come to Copetty police station where Stephen was detained, on 13 February, the next day after his arrest.

On the same day she was contacted by a person on hand phone who had demanded one million rupees if Stephen was to be released and had intimidated that it may take a long time for him to be released.

Colpetty police had allowed Stephen’s wife to visit him and give him meals everyday during his detention period.


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