South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

By Susitha R. Fernando

A massive protest is to be held in Puttlam tomorrow demanding the release of well-known human rights defender, Pattani Razeek who had been abducted a year ago.

A large number of human rights organizations and civil rights activists are expected to participate at the protest to be held tomorrow, February 11 on behalf of Razeek, Managing Trustee of Community Trust Fund (CTF), a human rights defender in Sri Lanka and Asia, sources said.

The human rights activists are also to protest against inaction of the police which has failed to arrest the main suspect in the alleged abduction despite credible information received during the investigation, they said.

According to the investigation reports filed before Puttlam Magistrate relating to the abduction, one Shabdeen Nowshadh, a former employee of CTF and a close associate of government member was a key suspect in the disappearance.

The investigation also had revealed that Nowshadh had allegedly made a call from his cellular phone using Razeek’s SIM card to his residence shortly after the disappearance.

Subsequent to the police investigation Nowshadh had made an application for anticipatory bail which was rejected on June 23 and he had applied for a revision in High Court Puttalam.

However, police had so far failed to arrest Nowshadh who had been seen in public places several times since this was disclosed in mid 2010, they said. The suspect also has informed courts that he was a close acquaintance of a Minister and was needed by the Minister for election and other work. However, court has issued an order on the Controller of Immigration and Emigration preventing the suspect from leaving the country. On February 11, Razeek had been taken by a group who had come in a white van in Kaduruwela, Polonnaruwa while he was on a journey with some of his staff members.  Following the abduction an anonymous caller using a SIM card obtained under the name of Razeek had called his family and demanded a ransom of Rs. 20 million. When the family members had made a request to meet Razeek, the caller had asked them to come to Colombo and had left some of the belongings at a mosque in Gunasinghapura.  Among the belongings released were his spectacles, wrist watch, driving licence and vehicle insurance certificate but they were not able to meet the Razeek.

Appeals also have been made to the President, Secretary to Ministry of Defense, the Attorney General and Inspector General of Police.

Source: The Daily Mirror – 10.02.2011