Another Human Rights defender arrested

Mr. Santha Fernando (63) Executive Secretary Commission for Justice and Peace –National Christian Conference  ( former Secretary APAY, member of IDC , APRRN and NCC Sri Lanka National Board  member National YMCA) has been taken in to Custody at Colombo International Air Port on 27th march 2009.  He was handed over by Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) of Sri Lanka . Mr. Fernando has served as the secretary of CJP-NCC SL for four years.

He was arrested after airport security found some documents related to conflict in Sri Lanka in his hand luggage. According to unconfirmed reports documents he had in his possession were on humanitarian crisis in Vanni, downloaded form the internet. He was on his way to attend a two day workshop organized by Delhi based The Other Media group on Sri Lanka situation. The work shop was held on 28/29th in Delhi .

Santha’s Wife was asked to come to the police section where he is held.  A lawyer who visited the police section was informed him that they will let him know by two or three days time where they  will allow lawyers  to visit him. They only allowed family members to visit him. Upto now no lawyer has been allowed to visit him.
A lawyer has contacted the Director of the unit and raised concerns over his age and health and they informed the lawyer that he is well looked after.

It is understood that Ministry for Defence (MOD) has issued a detention order for 30 days to keep Mr. Santha Fernando in the TID.

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