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#FreeJeyakumary and all those unlawfully detained

This petition had 784 supporters

It has been over 200 days since the arrest of Jeyakumary Balendran on 13th March, 2014. She was detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) – Provisions 6(1) and 9(1) – and sent to the Boosa detention centre the next day. To date, no charges have been filed.

Jeyakumary has been a vocal advocate and campaigned against disappearances in the North. As a direct result she has been subject to numerous threats and intimidation allegedly by State intelligence forces. Many believe she was framed by the State because she dared to challenge the authorities in her quest to find the whereabouts of her disappeared son.

The Government has accused Jeyakumary of harbouring an alleged LTTE revivalist, P. Selvanayagam a.k.a Gobi, who had forcibly entered her home on 13th March, 2014. A metal detector and a Menelab F-3 type mine detector too were allegedly recovered from within her house premises. However, despite these accusations, no charges have been filed against her in the past 6 months. Most importantly, Jeyakumary has maintained that she has had no connection, whatsoever, with this unidentified individual.

Her 13-year-old daughter, Balendran Vibushika, was unlawfully held in police custody along with her mother for 24 hours. Further, the B-Report issued by the Kilinochchi Police on the 14th of March, named Vibushika as a ‘suspect’ and has since been in probationary custody at a Children’s Home. Probation officers took her to visit Jeyakumary once in June this year, and she has not seen her mother since.

Two Fundamental Rights petitions SCFR/126/14 and SCFR/127/14 – were filed in the Supreme Court on behalf of Jeyakumary and her daughter on 12th May, 2014. Their cases have been heard six times since May. At the last hearing on 16th September, 2014 the Attorney General Department stated that the Police required more time and that investigations are ongoing. The next hearing will be on 17th December, 2014.

Jeyakumary is not the only victim of unlawful detention. Between January and April of this year alone, over 80 people were arrested and unlawfully detained by the Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) in a mass scale round-up in the North and East. At least ten women and children were among those arrested.

Jeyakumary is a widow from Kilinochchi. Her eldest son, Balendran Yohan worked as a labourer. He was shot and killed at the age of 20 in 2006, allegedly by a para-military group supporting the Government forces. However, no one has been arrested for his killing to date. Her second son, Balendran Kajeevan too, was also killed in a shell attack while en route to the government-controlled area in May 2009.

Jeyakumary last saw her youngest son, Balendran Mahinthan in 2008, when he was forcibly recruited by the LTTE, at the age of 15. He survived the war and was last seen surrendering to the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) at Mullivaikkal, in May 2009. Further, she recognized him in a photograph, undergoing rehabilitation with other child soldiers at a State-run rehabilitation centre, originally published on, a State-owned online news site, after the end of the war.

She then filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Jaffna (Reference No. HRC/152/2014) on 8th January, 2014, on his disappearance. Consequent to this complaint, the NHRC was informed by the Commissioner of Prisons, that Balendran Mahinthan was not in the custody of the Department of Prisons. The Commissioner General of Rehabilitation too informed the NHRC that Balendran Mahinthan had not been included in any rehabilitation process, even though there is photographic evidence of him undergoing rehabilitation at a State-run Centre.

Jeyakumary has been forced into prolonged detention with no conclusive evidence to charge her for the accusations under which she was arrested. Investigations have progressed in a lackluster manner. 200 days into her arrest, State Authorities are yet to produce substantiated evidence to justify her arrest and detention.

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