Justice for the Unlawful Arrest of Hon. Sockalingam Yogalingam, MP & other Tamil Activists

Justice for the Unlawful Arrest of Hon. Sockalingam Yogalingam, MP & other Tamil Activists

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Majuran Sathananthan started this petition to Thames Valley Police (Commissioner) and

We sign this petition to raise concerns about the conduct of the Thames Valley Police Force for arresting Tamil activist of Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) without reasonable grounds.

On 8 October 2018, the Sri Lankan Tamil political activists were conducting a peaceful protest in Oxford where Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Ranil Wickramasinghe was giving a speech. Some were carrying the National flag of Tamils which represents Tamil people’s right to self-determination as a population. Neither the Tamil Diaspora nor the TGTE are proscribed as terrorist organisations in the UK or anywhere in the Europe. Their protest was predominantly advocating accountability for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes alleged to have taken place during the Sri Lankan civil war and in the period following the war.  The Sri Lankan Prime Minister who was speaking is alleged to have been complicit in such acts. The wording used on their banners for example included “Sri Lanka! Where are our forcefully disappeared loved ones?” a reference to the missing persons (majority of whom are Tamil) who remain unaccounted for to this day. There were no incidents of public disorder offences or breaches of restrictions.  

The TGTE is the only democracy elected representatives of the Tamil Diaspora and operates under the guidance of qualified professionals and academics. The TGTE continues to expose and protest against the use of enforced disappearances, systematic and widespread torture, use of rape as an an instrument of interrogation and unlawful killing of Tamils. Hence they carry the slogans such as “We demand Justice and Accountability for Sri Lanka Tamil Genocide,” “Stop the Genocide". Consequently, the Sri Lankan government desperately wants to silence their voices as people’s representative and the British Police/Thames Valley Police should not permit these kind of suppression in the UK and become complicit in these crimes by supporting the actions of the Sri Lankan High Commision in London. 

Whilst the Sri Lankan PM was giving a speech, a smartly dressed man (the complainant) pointed out a number of people to police officers from Thames Valley Police force. Three protestors were then arrested and taken into custody. Video from the incident shows the smartly dressed complainant, presumably an official linked to the Sri Lankan High Commission London or the Sri Lankan Government, get into the front seat of the police vehicle and given a lift after the arrests.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkkfN51hwDM&feature=youtu.be

The arrests were made on the basis of false information deliberately provided to the police with a malicious intention by the above official attached to the SLHC London that the protesters were carrying an object (flag) belong to a terrorist organisation. According to the agenda of the Sri Lankan Government, SLHC and few others including the British Tamil Forum (BTF) had been repeatedly trying to mislead the Police and the Public that the Tamil National Flag is an item which is proscribed in the UK with an ill intention of destroying the Tamil National Identities which is absolutely unacceptable. However, it had been repeatedly made clear that the Tamil National Flag is not proscribed in the UK. The Scotland Yard Anti-Terrorism unit (SO15) has also confirmed that the Tamil Eelam flag is not that of LTTE (proscribed organisation in UK).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=no74ThPMEEo

Despite the above obvious fact, the police acted upon the false information and disrupted the protest and their lawful freedom of assembly and expression was unreasonably curtailed. Hon. Sockalingam Yogalingam MP and Deputy Minister of the TGTE and three other activist were also arrested and unlawfully detained. This is a potential infringement of the right to freedom of assembly/association and right to free speech (which includes peaceful protest), as well as unlawful arrest.

It is also very disappointing that even after it has become crystal clear that the information provided to the police was false and maliciously intended to cause disruption to the peaceful protest, the police has failed to arrest and prosecute the official from the Sri Lankan High Commission for misleading the police and wasting the public recourses. Under S 5(2) of the Criminal Law Act 1967 (CLA 1967), it is an offence to cause a wasteful employment of the police by knowingly making a false report – either orally or in writing.

We kindly request the Commissioner of the Thames Valley Police Force and the Secretary of State for the Home Department on behalf of my community and myself to investigate this matter and do the following; 

  • Thames Valley Police must issue a statement of apology for demonstrating bias towards the racism of the Sri Lankan Government & discrimination against the Tamils by arresting Hon. Sockalingam Yogalingam, MP, Deputy Minister of the TGTE and 3 Tamil Activist without reasonable grounds in Oxford on 08/10/2018.
  • Apologise for unreasonably interfering in our right to freedom of expression and assembly based on the false information provided by the officer of the Sri Lankan High Commision London.
  • Arrest and prosecute the Sri Lankan High Commission Officer who provided the false information to the Thames Valley Policewith the malicious intent to disrupt the peaceful protest and wasted the public resources.
  • Make a Declaration that the Tamil National Flag is not a proscribed item in the UK in order to prevent the same problems being repeated in the future.

We remain with the hope that the British Police should never act upon the political pressure by the foreign Governments and attempt to silence the peaceful protesters who advocate against human rights violations anywhere in the world.  Thames Valley Police is expected to prove their professionalism and naturality by publicly apologising on this occasion where the Sri Lankan High Commission has maliciously attempted to manipulate the justice by misusing the Police force. 

Thank you

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