Locked Away: Sri Lanka's "Security" Detainees

March 13, 2012

Sri Lanka
Prisoners have been held for extended periods without charge at Welikada Prison © Private

I want to tell you a story about a man arrested in Sri Lanka.  It’s shocking.

In June 2008, “Roshan” (not his real name) was arrested in Colombo by unknown assailants who he later learned were plainclothes police.  The police suspected him of links to the opposition Tamil Tigers.  He was held for two years without ever being charged or tried and was repeatedly tortured, before eventually being released.  No one has been held accountable for his treatment.

Shocking as it is, “Roshan”‘s case is not an isolated one.  A new Amnesty International report released today, Locked away:  Sri Lanka’s security detainees, reveals how arbitrary detention, torture and enforced disappearance remain routine in Sri Lanka, almost three years after the government’s victory over the Tigers.  Security legislation developed during the 26-year civil war facilitated human rights violations by government forces against tens of thousands of civilians.  Impunity for these abuses is the rule and continues today.

If Sri Lanka is really to move from war to peace, it must restore the rule of law and provide all those arrested with due process in accordance with international law.

Please send an online letter to the Sri Lankan government asking them to release the hundreds of security detainees currently languishing in jail or else promptly charge them with recognizable crimes and give them fair trials.  Write today!  Thanks.