Sri Lanka: An year has passed since HR defender Patti Razeek disappeared

NFR Press release/ 11 February 2011

Disappearance of journalists and human rights defenders continue  unabated in Sri Lanka today. One year ago, on 11th February, 2010 Pattani Razeek, a member of the Executive Committee of  the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development and  one of the Trustees of the Community Trust Fund  based in Puttalam   was  intercepted at Polonnaruwa  by a white van while he was travelling with members of the  staff of the Community Trust Fund. Pattani Razeek, is reported to have disembarked from his vehicle and gone up to the white van to check why his vehicle was intercepted.  Following a conversation he had with the occupants of the white van,  he had told his staff that he would be travelling in the white van up to Valaichena and had asked  his staff to meet up with him there.  That was the last time they  saw him.

NfR expresses it serious concern that  disappearance of Mr.Razzek  has not been investigated by the authorities and  he has been missing for a year by 11th February 2011.

It is presumed that  Pattani Razeek  had been abducted  on account of his legitimate and peaceful  work in the field of human rights.  Though the members of his family had promptly made a complaint to the Police,  he has not been found so far.  However, the Police had filed a  ‘B’ Report to the Magistrate of Puttalam in response to the complaint of Razeek’s disappearance.  It is said that the  ‘B’  Report indicates  that one Shahabdeen  Nowshard, a former employee of the CTF  and a person connected to a leading Muslim politician,  is alleged to be  responsible for the disappearance.  The Police had based their suspicion on Nowshard as he had been found to have made a telephone call  using Razeek’s mobile telephone  after he had disappeared.  Following this, Nowshard had made an application  to the Magistrate  for ‘anticipatory bail’  which had been refused.  He had then appealed to the High Court  of Puttalam for a revision of that order.  This appeal is to be heard  on the 10th February, 2011.

NfR is holds the view  that the Police are not pursuing their search for Pattani Razeek seriously on account of the political connections of  the suspect Nowshard.  In the  meantime  it is reported that the family members of Razeek had been receiving telephone calls  asking for ransom for the release of  Razeek.

Abductions, disappearances and demands for ransom have become  very common in Sri Lanka these days leading to a sense of insecurity among the people.   Such incidents are rarely investigated  seriously by the police.  It is urged that the State should take serious note of  such incidents  and  bring the perpetrators to book.  Not taking action against the perpetrators  only indicates  the absence of the rule of law in Sri Lanka today.  Besides,   the Police and  the Military are under the direct control of the Ministry of Defence which is headed by   a supposedly efficient  Secretary.  Allowing such incidents to go uninvestigated and unchecked  would leads to the inevitable  conclusion that  the State has  a hand in these incidents.

Issued by
Steering Committee, NfR Sri Lanka
Steering committee : Kshama Ranawana ( Canada) Lionel Bopage ( Australia), Nadarasa Sarawanan (Norway), Nadarajah Kuruparan(UK) Padmi Liyanage (Germany), Raveendran Pradeepan (France), Rudhramoorthy Cheran (Canada), Saman Wagaarachchi ( USA), Sunanda Deshapriya ( Switzerland)
C/O, 19447, Victory Blvd,#2, Reseda,CA 91335, USA           ; Face book nfrsrilanka

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