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Police threats forced wife of detained former LTTE cadre to end protest

The wife of a detained former LTTE cadre has said that she was threatened and forced by Sri Lankan police to drop her hunger strike protest calling for her husband’s release.

Rajakumarar Selvarany had begun a hunger strike protest in Batticaloa’s Gandhi Park with her four children, calling for the release of her husband Kathirgamathamby Rajakumarar alias Ajanthan, a former LTTE cadre who was arrested purportedly in connection with the murders of two Sri Lankan police officers in Vavunathivu, Batticaloa.

Although earlier reports had suggested that Sri Lankan police along with local government figures, including the Mayor of Batticaloa, had persuaded Selvarany to abandon her protest with assurances of her husband’s release or bail, Selvarany told Tamil media this week that she had in fact abandoned the protest after caving into police threats.

The family were forced into a white van and escorted to their home, Selvarany said.

Rajakumarar is currently being held under a detention order granted by the Sri Lankan defence ministry, allowing for police to detain him for three months without bail.

However Rajakumarar and another former LTTE cadre being detained have not been produced before courts, despite Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) regulations under which they were arrested stipulating that all suspects should be produced before a court within 72 hours of arrest.

Selvarany has appealed to Tamil representatives to help secure the release of her husband, the family’s only breadwinner.

“If he doesn’t return, my children and I will have no choice but to drink poison and die,” she said.

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