Showing defiance even as its human rights record is coming under heavy fire in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Sri Lankan Government authorities have arrested a leading Tamil disappearances activist Balendran Jeyakumari under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act.
Jeyakumari and her 13 year old daughter Vibushika were presented before the Kilinochchi magistrate at the strange hour of 9 p.m. A detention order from the Ministry of Defence has been issued on Jeyakumari, to keep her in custody without trial under the PTA.
Jeyakumari is to be transferred to the Boosa detention camp in the Southern Province later tonight, according to some reports by activist groups.
Her daughter has been handed over to a child probationary officer and will be kept at the Kilinochchi hospital for treatment over the weekend, ACTC General Secretary and Tamil activist Gajen Ponnambalam tweeted.
Jeyakumari who is a resident of Dharmapuram in Kilinochchi was arrested after security forces and police surrounded her house on Thursday evening and interrogated her and her 13 year old daughter – her only remaining child for several hours.
The Tamil National Alliance said that the pair had been kept overnight Thursday in Vavuniya and were supposed to be presented before the Kilinochchi magistrate on Friday (14).
It is unclear why the police waited till night time to produce her before court.
The mother of four, who lost two sons in the war, lost a third child conscript in the LTTE at 15 years old after she surrendered him to the army in May 2009.
Activists say Jeyakumari’s best proof that her son was last in Government custody was that he was featured in the LLRC report that published pictures of ex-LTTE combatants being rehabilitated. Both the mother and daughter have attended protests organized by Mannar citizens committee and families that are looking for missing and disappeared members. She and her daughter have been featured in many video documentaries on the disappeared including “white van stories” which was previewed on Channel 4, Sri Lanka campaign said in a statement about the arrest.
The arrest and detention are sparking major fears of reprisals against human rights activists and Tamil civilians who participate in activism campaigns on various issues.