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Statement Condemns Arrest and Unlawful Detention of Four Students from the University of JaffnaSalem-News.com
Supporters of the students are calling for their immediate release.
(JAFFNA, Sri Lanka) - We the undersigned, strongly condemn the arrest of four students of the University of Jaffna (UoJ) by the Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) on Thursday, November 29, 2012. While welcoming the release of Kanesamoorthy Sutharsan, a student of the Jaffna Medical Faculty on the morning of Tuesday, December 4, we condemn the continued detention of the remaining three Jaffna University Student Union members: Sanmugam Solaman (24), Kanagasundram Jenamajenth, and Student Union Secretary Paramalingam Tharshaanan (24).
The four are part of a group of seven Jaffna University students who were summoned by the Kopai Police (in the Jaffna District) on Thursday, November 29, 2012, in connection with an alleged arson (petrol bomb) attack on the office of the Sri Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO) in Thirunelvely, Jaffna. Sri-TELO had opened its office at Thirunelvely near the Jaffna University, only a week prior to the alleged arson attack. The students were later charged with putting up posters around the Jaffna University relating to Maaveerar Naal (LTTE heroes/martyrs day) which fell on Tuesday, November 27, 2012.
Following the summons, Sanmugam Solaman and Kanagasundram Jenamajenth surrendered to the Kopai Police at 1pm on Thursday, November 29, accompanied by two Jaffna University lecturers and a lawyer. At the time of arrest, the lecturers were shown a document in Sinhala, which appeared to be the letter issued by the Officer in Charge of the Kopai Police, dated Friday, November 30 (Ref No. OIC/KP/ODB/6067/2012), to the head of security at the Jaffna University. It stated that the seven students listed in the document must appear at the Kopai Police station to make a statement on November 30, in relation to a complaint made to the Kopai Police by one Somasuriyasingham Senthuran of Kondavil West (Jaffna District), on November 29. The two students Sanmugam Solaman and Kanagasundram Jenamajenth, were subsequently handed over to the TID office in Vavuniya on November 30. Two more students – Paramalingam Tharshaanan and Kanesamoorthy Sutharsan – were arrested by the Kopai Police at 1am on November 30 from their temporary residences in Kaladdi and Urumpirai (Jaffna District) and handed over to the TID office in Vavuniya on Saturday, December 1.
The remaining three students are currently being held at the Vavuniya TID office. The families of the students have so far not been provided with any official document relating to their detention or charges. The students have also not been produced before either the Vavuniya or Jaffna Magistrate. We are therefore deeply concerned with regard to the legality of their continued detention.
The parents of one student met all four students at the Vavuniya TID office on Monday, December 3.Vavuniya Police have assured the students and the parents that they would be released subject to being produced before the Vavuniya Magistrate. The parents and the four students waited at the Vavuniya Police Station from 8am – 3pm on December 3 for the Vavuniya Magistrate to return from Colombo. However the students have not been produced before the Magistrate so far. We are concerned by evidence that the university authorities have been informed by the Deputy Inspector General for the Northern Province that detention orders have been issued for the four students as on December 2. The parents of the students have not been provided a copy of the detention order to date.
Of the three remaining students summoned in the document dated November 30, two students have already graduated from the University of Jaffna and are employed under the Government Graduate Scheme in Nedunkerny, (Vavuniya District). Six of the seven students named in the letter dated 30th November have been active and outspoken members of the Jaffna University Student Union, post war. The students have organized and participated in several protests and campaigns against human rights violations allegedly committed by the Sri Lanka Army in the North. On November 28, they were involved in organising a silent protest against the intimidation and attacks by the Sri Lanka Army on university students on the previous day. So far no charges or evidence has been produced linking the students with the alleged arson attack.
Situation Update as at 12.30pm, 7 December, 2012
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