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Activists detained by TID officers

Two activists, Father Praveen the Director of the Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, and the Sri Lankan human rights campaigner, Ruki Fernando, detained yesterday in Kilinochchi were detained by officials from the Terrorism Investigation Department (TID), Human Rights Lawyer S. Ratnavale told BBC Tamil.

Mr. Ratnavale said,

"According to reports that we have received they were reportedly not arrested for their work, however, they are being interrogated. This is likely to be connected to the incident that happened yesterday [Thursday] - the arrest of a mother and daughter [Balendran Jeyakumari and Vipoosika]."

Highlighting a number of incidents of interrogation of activists in Kilinochchi, Mr. Ratnavale said there have been more arrests.

"At present two women have also been detained in the Kilinochchi district. All of them have been arrested by the TID force."

Asked about access to legal counsel to arrest activists, Mr. Ratnavale said,

"No, according to Sri Lankan law, whilst an interrogation is taking place, there is no opportunity for them to have access to a lawyer. They will be interrogated alone. After that, once they have been brought before a judge or charged, that's when they will usually have access to legal counsel.

However, if they are sent to a prison like Boosa, it is very, very difficult for even lawyers to gain access to them. Even lawyers have to wait days to get permission before being able to meet them."

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