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'A threat to democracy' - Canadian politicians condemn arrest of Jaffna Mayor

Canadian politicians have condemned the arrest of the Mayor of Jaffna V. Manivannan by Sri Lanka’s Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) and demanded his immediate release.

V. Manivannan was arrested by Sri Lanka’s Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) at around 2 am on Friday, on charges of attempting to reconstruct and support the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).The arrest followed an investigation into the uniforms of a Jaffna Municipal Council task force which was launched this week to enforce penalties against environmental infractions such as littering and spitting. Sri Lankan police alleged that the uniforms worn by the task force were similar to those formerly worn by the LTTE's police force.

Canadian parliamentarians and officials alike called for the release of Manivannan, calling it a “threat to democracy” and a continuation of the Sri Lankan government’s “harassment [and] arbitrary arrest of members of the Tamil Community."

Gary Anandasangaree, MP for Scarborough-Rouge Park, quoting Tamil Guardian’s article tweeted that the “continued harassment [and] arbitrary arrests of members of the Tamil community including elected officials, journalists & human rights defenders must end.”

Mayor of Toronto John Tory, echoed Anandasangaree's condemnation and stated that "this continuing unjust treatment of Tamils is unacceptable." 

Salma Zahid, MP for Scarborough Centre, noted the “innocent must be released” and stated her solidarity with “our Tamil neighbours and friends."

Patrick Brown, Mayor of Brampton, quoting Tamil Guardian’s article called the arrest of the Jaffna Mayor a “revenge tactic” against the UNHRC and urged the release of all political prisoners and for Sri Lanka to “cooperate with the UN to ensure justice for the Tamil Genocide."

Vijay Thanigasalam, MPP for Scarborough-Rouge Park noted that “there’s no safety for elected Tamil representatives in Sri Lanka."

Logan Kanapathi, MPP for Markham-Thornhill quoting Tamil Guardian’s article tweeted against Sri Lanka’s “inhuman treatments towards the Tamils."

Following the condemnation, Mannivannan has subsequently been released on bail following a Rs. 2 Lakh payment. He had been charged under the Penal code with the case being adjourned until 26th June 2021, though the validity of the reasoning used to carry out Manivannan’s arrest has been brought into question.

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