Catholic Priests arrested as terrorists in Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – Catholic priests are terrorists? Well, that’s what the Sri Lankan Government obviously feels. It has locked up a priest under its anti-terrorist laws….

Sri Lanka arrested two leading rights activists under anti-terrorism laws, police and campaigners said Monday (March 17th), according to AFP.

Father Praveen Mahesan, head of the Peace and Reconciliation Centre in the Jaffna region, and Ruki Fernando of the Colombo-based INFORM advocacy group were detained Sunday as they met relatives who lost loved ones during the ethnic war.

In a report late last month, Amnesty International said Sri Lanka had created a “climate of fear” in the build-up to a meeting of the UN’s Human Rights Council.

A vote on a draft resolution calling for an international investigation into alleged war crimes is expected for March 28th in Geneva.

Earlier last year, a Catholic-run human rights group working in northeastern Sri Lanka complained of harassment by security personnel after meeting with UN rights chief Navi Pillay.

Veerasan Yogeswaran, a Jesuit priest who runs the Centre for Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, said five or six plainclothes policemen visited him at midnight just hours after he met with Pillay.

“The concern is that they are going to homes at midnight and questioning people,” the priest told AFP from his home in Trincomalee. “This should not happen four years after the war has ended. People feel harassed and intimidated. “

Pillay in a press conference subsequently accused the government of becoming “increasingly authoritarian”.”You don’t invite a person like me (to the country) and then do this type of thing. This type of surveillance and harassment appears to be getting worse in Sri Lanka, which is a country where critical voices are quite often attacked or even permanently silenced.”

Sri Lanka’s government has criticised Pillay and denied that anyone who spoke with her had been harassed. Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the government is prepared to investigate her allegations if she provides evidence.

 

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Posted by on March 19, 2014. Filed under Breaking News,SOUTH-ASIA,Srilanka. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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