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Sri Lanka's Genocidal War - '95 to '01
"Human Rights agencies in Colombo say that Tamils are being arrested at the Colombo airport, even if they have legally obtained travel documents to go abroad. Colombo Tamil newspaper Virakesari says that around 200 Tamils arrested by police at the airport are detained in Negombo and Welikada prisons, many under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). The newspaper also says that another 300 Tamils, arrested under the Immigrants and Emigrants Act, are languishing in prisons.
Nine Tamils who were legally travelling abroad were arrested on 5 May. In a fundamental rights application, state counsel Chaliya Peiris told the Supreme Court on 30 May that arrests were made on the assumption that they may provide funds to the LTTE after reaching a foreign country. Chief Justice Sarath N Silva pointed out that it is not an offence to go abroad and ordered the release of the detainees. But according to reports, arrests at the airport continue.
The Human Rights Commission (HRC) says that Borella suburb police in Colombo have detained Shanmugam Nageswary, 19, who had obtained employment abroad. The Committee of Inquiry into Undue Arrest and Harassment (CIUAH) has called for explanation from the Attorney Generalís Department over the airport arrests.
According to human rights agencies, over 600 arrests were made in southern Sri Lanka, including Colombo, in June. Police searched Tamil houses and shops in Hill Countryís Gampola town on 19 June and interrogated several people. A Tamil youth from Sanguhar Estate was taken into custody. Hill Country Tamil Kalimuthu Vijayakumar, 35, is in detention from October 1995 under the PTA on allegations that he raised funds for the LTTE. Lawyers say no evidence, other than a confession made in custody, has been placed regarding the accusation.
Following complaints that all Tamil residents of Matale in the Hill Country are being forced to register with the police, the CIUAH has ordered the Inspector General of Police to give proper instructions to police in the area. Reports say that in Gampola, employers are now demanding proof of police registration from Tamil employees..." (British Refugee Council, Sri Lanka Monitor, June 2000)