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Sri Lanka: No justice 5 years after abduction and killing of Pattani Razeek

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Five years on and despite repeated calls for independent, impartial and effective investigations into the abduction and killing of human rights defender Pattani Razeek by his family and local, regional and international groups, the Sri Lankan government has failed to shed light on his case.

On 11 February 2010, Pattani Razeek was last seen in Polonnaruwa, a town in the North-Central Province of Sri Lanka when he was on his way home from a mission. Razeek was a Managing Trustee of the Community Trust Fund (CTF), a non-governmental organization based in Sri Lanka working to protect human rights and promote equality. He was also a member of the Executive Committee of the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA).

After much delay in the investigation, his body was not found until 28 July 2011. The case has still not been resolved since key suspects have been released and court trials have been delayed. His family, friends and fellow human rights defenders strongly urge the government of Sri Lanka to commit to addressing impunity of serious human rights abuses. Furthermore, civil society groups again reiterate their call for an independent, impartial and effective investigation against all suspects. Only by bringing justice to the abduction and killing of Razeek can full closure of the case occur.

Background

On 11 February 2010, Razeek was returning from a visit with colleagues when their vehicle was intercepted by a white van. Pattani Razeek approached the men in the other vehicle, and exchanged greetings in Arabic. He returned to his CTF colleagues and said he would join the group in the white van, which according to him was headed for Valaichchenai, a town in Eastern Province. He assured his colleagues that he would meet up with them later. However, they did not see him again and he never returned home.

In July 2011, police found the body of Razeek in Kavathamunai, Oddamavadi, Valaichenai province after being led to the site by Ismail Mohamed Musdeen, one of the arrested suspects in Razeek’s disappearance. The discovery of Razeek’s body was a bitter closure to his disappearance since 11 February 2010. His son has tentatively identified the remains which were sent to Batticaloa Hospital for forensic examination. The post-mortem was completed on 2 August 2011 with the body released to the family on the same day.

In July 2012, one of the key suspects of the abduction and killing of Razeek was released. Furthermore, his family and lawyer have not been given access to the post-mortem report and DNA test report that has vital information on the truth behind his murder. It was also allegedly that police did not launch an investigation on the suspects – Mr. Irshard, (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister Rishard Bathiudeen), who stated publicly in October 2010 that Razeek was held by the Defense Ministry; Mr. Musdeen and Mr. Nowshaadh, who admitted meeting and travelling with Razeek in Polonnaruwa on the day that he disappeared.