Today marks the 285th day of Jeyakumary Balendran’s detention. A prominent member of the movement for the families of the disappeared – her own son having been abducted shortly after the war – she was arrested in March 2014 amid a broad government crackdown on civil society in the run up to the UN Human Rights Council Session. You may remember our solidarity letter writing campaign.Held under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act on the spurious allegation of conspiring to revive the LTTE, she has since been detained at the Boosa Army Camp, a place notorious for torture. During that time she has had extremely limited access to her lawyers and family. Despite repeated challenges, until yesterday no Detention Order had been formally filed against her in court, raising serious questions about whether due process has been followed and raising serious doubts about the lawfulness of her incarceration.
At yesterday’s hearing – her seventh – for the very first time the Attorney General handed over a summary of the evidence against her. However, according to her lawyers, the summary was not accompanied with the usual annexures that would give substance to the document, nor had it been sent officially through the court registry, thereby continuing to fuel doubts about the credibility of the evidence against her.
In a minor breakthrough, it was agreed that she would be transferred from TID (Terrorism Investigation Division) custody into judicial custody. However, it will not be until the 13th March 2015 until she receives another hearing, at which point she will have been held for an entire year. On the date of the Sri Lankan elections, she will mark her 300th day in custody.
No evidence has ever been produced against Jeyakumary and it will be more than a year before any legal proceedings regarding her detention even start in earnest. This is a disgrace. Please click here and sign the petition to protest this injustice.