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'We are in a hopeless situation' - Detained former LTTE cadre's son calls for his release

The son of former LTTE cadre and social activist who was recently arrested, has demanded to know the reason behind his arrest and called for the swift release of his father who is being held without charge. 

On March 27, Selvanayagam Aravinthan was summoned to Colombo by Sri Lanka's Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) and was later arrested for allegedly supporting the LTTE. 

Speaking at a press conference, his 18 year old son, Janathan said: 

“My father was arrested on the 27th of March by the TID, we don't know why he was arrested and the officials haven't told us anything about his arrest. We only know that when he was arrested it was labelled as ‘no-date’."

“He is presently at Welikada prison but when we went there to visit him, the authorities didn't even know he was detained. We waited for five hours before being allowed to see him.”

Janathan went on to explain that Aravinthan was arrested in Mullivaikkal in May 2009 at the end of the armed conflict and was in prison for eight and half years. Although he was released, Janathan explained that Aravinthan has been regularly subjected to harassment by Sri Lanka's police for his social activism. 

“I kindly request the authorities to find out more information about his arrest, to let us know of the court proceedings and when we can secure his release.”

At the press conference, Janathan explained that he and his 15 year old brother are having to live with a relative, who is also a former LTTE cadre, whilst his father remains in prison.  

"We don't know what to do now, we are in a hopeless situation," Janathan said.

Janathan has called on the ICRC and the Human Rights Commission to intervene and help get his father released. 

This is not the first time that Aravinthan has been arrested. In November 2023 he was arrested after he questioned army intelligence officers for holding an exhibition opposing Maaveerar Naal. Army intelligence officers held an exhibition, displaying photos of people they claimed had been killed by the LTTE. Aravinthan questioned the intelligence officers, asking them who they were working for and why they were holding this exhibition. 

This latest arrest adds to the pattern of harassment faced by Tamils in the North-East who are subjected to trumped-up charges. 

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