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Sri Lanka: Arrest of Prime Suspect in Razeek’s Disappearance Applauded

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(Bangkok, 16 July 2011) – The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), a membership-based regional human rights organization, welcomes the arrest on 8 July 2011 of the chief suspect in relation to the disappearance of Sri Lankan human rights defender, Pattani Razeek. Razeek was Executive Committee member of FORUM-ASIA and Managing Trustee of the Community Trust Fund (CTF).

The arrest happened on the last day of a signature campaign by Razeek’s family, the Mosque Committee and local civil society groups, in addition to public appeals by Sri Lankan civil society activists and international human rights organizations marking 500 days since the disappearance of Razeek. FORUM-ASIA also sent its open letter to President Mahinda Rajapakse on 28 June 2011, urging the government of Sri Lanka to arrest the prime suspect and produce him in court without delay.

While recognizing this arrest as a significant step, FORUM-ASIA calls on the Sri Lankan government to expedite investigations to find out the whereabouts of Razeek based on leads that could be obtained from the arrested suspect.

In particular, the Sri Lankan Police should investigate the remarks by S. R. M. Irshad, Secretary to Minister Rishad Bathiudeen that Razeek was in custody of the Defence Ministry. FORUM-ASIA strongly calls on the Sri Lankan government to immediately make public clarification on this statement by S. R. M. Irshad. If the account of S. R. M. Irshad is true, the government must disclose swiftly and publicly the whereabouts of Razeek. (ENDS)

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Yap Swee Seng, Executive Director, +66 81 868 9179, [email protected]
Mr. Surya Deuja, South Asia Programme Manager, +66(0)2 653 2940, [email protected]