Press Release from Sri Lanka: 17 Student Activists Remanded until May 19th

The following press release was sent to the global ISM mailing list by the Inter University Students' Federation (IUSF) in Sri Lanka on May 17th.

May 16th, Sri Lanka:
17 Student Activists Remanded until 19th

Although the Government of Sri Lanka has failed to give solutions to the cut in the Allied Health Sciences’ degree and the resistance action of Rajarata students against the repressive university administration, it has launched a campaign of repression against the student activists fighting for education rights.

The latest step by the police in this direction is following students in civil attire and abducting and illegally detaining them. Police has conducted two such illegal abductions. In both these abductions they have produced fake warrants against the students. These abductions happened when the students were leaving after a protest action held in front of the University Grants Commission yesterday (16th) afternoon.

The first abduction happened at about 3.45 in the evening in front of the Post Office in Town Hall. Police officers in civil attire have followed 4 students, ambushed them and a three wheeler and a jeep that arrived suddenly have abducted them. Then they were illegally detained at the Kirulapona Police Station.

Second abduction happened at about 5.35 in the evening. Students have got into a bus to go to Colombo Fort and again police officers in civil attire had got into the bus had attempted to arrest a student under a warrant issued in the name of a different person. Students had protested the illegal arrest of the fellow student and the police had arbitrarily ordered the driver to take the bus along with the 13 students to Slave Island Police Station. When the bus arrived at the Police Station the police have inhumanly attacked the students with batons and poles right in front of the Police Station. As of now, students who were injured were not even hospitalized.

Students were presented in front of the Fort Magistrate at his residence in Mount Lavinia at about 10.30 in the night and the Magistrate had ordered them to be remanded until 19th. Allied Health Science Students activists of Universities of Ruhuna and Peradeniya are thus being illegally detained and Students Council President of University of Peradeniya, Dimuthu Gunasekere is also among the illegally detained.

Abducting and illegally detaining students without warrants and assaulting them is a grave violation of the fundamental rights of the student activists. We categorically condemn this political witch hunt of student activists by the police in collusion with the courts, especially in the context of the Higher Education Minister S.B.Dissanayake’s open threat towards IUSF activists and their families. We invite the people of this country to organize and rally to protect educational, political and fundamental rights of the students.

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