Pax Christi USA has signed onto a letter being circulated by the U.S. province of the Missionary Oblates to the U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Michele Sison.
The letter shares deep concerns about several recent arrests in Sri Lanka of human rights defenders under the government’s Protection of Terrorism Act (PTA), including an Oblate priest, Fr. Praveen Mahesan, OMI. He and Ruki Fernando, an internationally respected human rights defender, were arrested on Saturday night while looking into the arrest two days before of a vocal leader of families of the disappeared, Ms. Jeyakumari. She has since been moved to a notorious prison in the south of Sri Lanka, where torture is common. She was initially detailed with her 13 year old daughter, and Fr. Praveen and Ruki were trying to insure the safety of the daughter when the military arrested them. Fr. Praveen and Ruki have been released – for now – after an international outcry, but they have been told not to speak to the media, and their passports have been taken.
The letter calls for the unconditional release of Ms. Jeyakumari and restoration of full freedom of movement for Fr. Praveen and Ruki Fernando.