The international human rights organisation Front Line Defenders has issued an urgent appeal against the targeting of human rights lawyer and head of law at Jaffna University, Dr Kumaravadivel Guruparan.
Last week Guruparan was barred from practising as a lawyer by the Sri Lankan University Grants Commission (UGC) at the instigation of the Sri Lankan military. The move is seen as a direct reprisal for his representation of victims in the Navatkuli Habeas Corpus case, related to the disappearance of 24 Tamil youths from military custody in 1996.
Front Line Defenders released an urgent appeal calling for the immediate revocation of all restrictions against Guruparan, “including his right to practice law and support victims of human rights violations in their pursuit of justice through court.”
The organisation also called for Guruparan’s safety to be guaranteed as well as the safety of all those involved in the Navatkuli case.
This week almost 300 activists, lawyers, journalists, academics, clergy and civil society representatives also signed a statement condemning the targeting of Guruparan.
“The ban impacts upon academic autonomy, independence of the bar and the role of knowledge institutions in a constitutional democracy. I intend to challenge this ban through litigation and other means,” Guruparan said on Twitter.