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One Year Since Ruki Fernando Gagged Without Any Charges


21st March 2015.
Statement to mark one year since the issuing of the gag order, travel restrictions and TID investigation against Sri Lankan human rights defender Ruki Fernando.

The 21st March 2015 will mark one year since a court order restricting the freedom of expression on leading Sri Lankan human rights defender and writer, Ruki Fernando was obtained by the Terrorist Investigation Department (TID). Such restriction on freedom of expression of a prolific writer and commentator on human rights issues such as Ruki, is unprecedented in recent Sri Lankan history.

Ruki and another colleague were arrested on 16th March 2014 during a fact finding mission to the war ravaged Northern part of the country. Both were released on 19th March 2014 after massive national and international outrage. Immediately after his release, Ruki gave interviews to local and international media. As a result of this, he faced intimidation after his release and a fresh investigation was launched against him by the TID. The TID also obtained Court Orders restriction Ruki’s overseas travels and freedom of expression, and also confiscated communication equipment , all of which are effective till today.
Ruki’s arrest had resulted in him being branded a traitor and terrorist supporter by some media and Sinhalese nationalist groups, and the restriction on freedom of expression had made it difficult for him to respond to such accusations and defamation and defend himself. His human rights work locally and internationally as well as personal life has been constrained by the need to go to courts each time he needs to travel overseas. Even after obtaining court permission, he was compelled to miss a flight when he was travelling overseas for a human rights conference and he had faced delays, humiliation on other occasions he was travelling overseas for human rights work, due to being stopped and questioned by the Immigration and State Intelligence Service officers.
It is now more than 4 months since Ruki’s lawyers had made verbal and written submissions to the Attorney General’s Department about the closure of the case and lifting of the restrictions . There has been an indication of readiness to lift the travel restriction. But the Attorney General’s Department and the TID has refused to close the investigation, return the confiscated equipment and lift of the gag order.

This clearly indicates the continuing anti –human rights and media freedom mind-set of the security establishment and the insensitivity of the new political leadership towards same. It shows that HRDs released from detention can be subjected to continued harassments and restrictions, despite the new political leadership in Sri Lanka. The conditions imposed on Ms. Balendran Jeyakumari, a woman HRD released on bail on 10th March 2015 after 362 days in detention, reaffirms this.

We the undersigned fully endorse and look forward to “…the day when all human rights defenders and dissenters can be free from accusations of supporting terrorism and are able enjoy their rights to express themselves and travel freely” (as said by Ruki ).
1. Ainslie Joseph – Convener/Chief Animator, Christian Alliance for Social Action (CASA)
2. Amal de Chickera
3. Anberiya Hanifa
4. Anthony Jesudasan
5. B. Gowthaman
6. Balasingham Skanthakumar
7. Brito Fernando
8. Budi Tjahjono
9. Chamila Thushari
10. Damaris Wickremesekera
11. Deanne Uyangoda
12. Dr. Cheran Rudhramoorthy
13. Dr. Leonie Solomons – Executive Director, Language Matters
14. Dr. Muhammad Muzzammil Cader – Convener, People’s Movement for Non-Violence
15. Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu – Executive Director, Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA)
16. Dr. Richard Perera
17. Dulan de Silva
18. E.M. Bandara Menike
19. Emil van der Poorten – Community Activist seeking to uphold basic human rights
20. Faizun Zackariya – Citizens’ Voice for Justice and Peace
21. Freddy Gamage – Editor, Meepura Newspaper
22. Godfrey Yogarajah – Executive Director, World Evangelical Alliance – Religious Liberty Commission (WEA RLC)
23. Herman Kumara – Convener, NAFSO
24. Ian Ferdinands
25. Indika Udugampola
26. Jake Oorloff
27. Jayampathi Bulathsinhala
28. Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala
29. Joanne Senn
30. Joe William
31. Jovita Arulanantham
32. K. Guruparan – Attorney-at-Law
33. Kalani Subasinghe
34. Kelly Senanayaka
35. Krishan Rajapakshe
36. Kusal Perera – Journalist
37. Laaurence KWARK
38. Lesley Sirimane
39. M. Nilashani
40. M.M. Rahman – Journalist, Mannar
41. Manjula Wediwardana
42. Marianne Johnpillai
43. Marisa de Silva
44. Melani Manel Perera – Journalist
45. Melisha Yapa
46. Menaha Kandasamy – Red Flag Women’s Movement
47. Monica Alfred
48. Nalini Ratnarajah – Women Human Rights Defender
49. Nicola Perera
50. Nilantha Ilangamuwa – Journalist & Editor of Sri Lanka Guardian
51. Nilshan Fonseka
52. Nimal Perera – CSM
53. Nimalka Fernando
54. Nirmala Rajasingam
55. P. Selvaratnam
56. P. Vijayashanthan – Theatre Activist
57. P.N. Singham
58. Paba Deshapriya
59. Philip Setunga
60. Poddala Jayantha
61. Prof. Ajit Abeysekera
62. Prof. Jayadeva Uyangoda – University of Colombo
63. Prof. Jayantha Seneviratne – University of Kelaniya
64. R.M.B Senanayake – Retired C.C.S
65. Rajany Chandrasegaram
66. Ranjith Henayakaarachchi
67. Rasika Manobuddhi
68. Ravindra Chandralal
69. Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph – Bishop of Mannar
70. Rev. Fr. Jeyabalan Croos
71. Rev. Fr. Sherard Jayawardane
72. Rev. Fr. T. L. R. Dominic
73. Rev. Jason J. Selvaraja – Assembly of God, Chavakachcheri
74. Rev. Sr. Anne Perera- HF – CSM
75. Rev. Sr. Deepa Fernando – HF
76. Rev. Sr. Noel Christine Fernando – SCJM, Sri Lanka
77. Rohini Hensman – Writer and Independent Scholar
78. S. R. Perera
79. S.C.C. Elankovan
80. Sampath Samarakoon
81. Senaka Wattegedara
82. Shantha D. Pathirana – Human Rights Defender
83. Shreen Saroor
84. Sunanda Deshapriya
85. Suren D. Perera
86. T. Mathuri – Attorney-at-Law
87. Tanuja Thurairajah – Researcher
88. Tejshree Thapa
89. Udaya R. Tennakoon
90. V. Sanjeev
91. Visaka Dharmadasa

92. Association of War Affected Women (AWAW)
93. National Peace Council (NPC)
94. Rights Now Collective for Democracy

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