Amnesty appeals for release of abducted Sri Lanka rights worker

[TamilNet, Friday, 19 February 2010, 11:41 GMT]
Amnesty International appealed for the release of Human rights defender Pattani Razeek, 55, head of the Community Trust Fund (CTF), a Sri Lankan NGO based in the town of Puttalam in North Western Province, who was allegedly abducted in a white van on the 11th of February. Amnesty also noted that the Police and the Human Rights Commission where the abduction was reported, have failed to followup leads related to the abduction.

Full text of the Amnesty appeal follows:

Human rights defender Pattani Razeek has been missing since he was apparently abducted on 11 February in the town of Polonnaruwa, in Sri Lanka’s North Central Province. He may be the victim of an enforced disappearance, and could be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment. It is not clear what the authorities are doing to investigate his case.

Pattani Razeek, aged 55, is the head of the Community Trust Fund (CTF), a Sri Lankan NGO based in the town of Puttalam in North Western Province. He was returning from a visit with colleagues when their vehicle was intercepted by a white van. Pattani Razeek approached the men in the other vehicle, and exchanged greetings in Arabic. He returned to his CTF colleagues and said he would join the group in the white van, which according to him was headed for Valaichchenai, a town in Eastern Province. He assured his colleagues that he would meet up with them later. However, they did not see him again, and he never returned home.

On 16 February, Pattani Razeek’s family obtained records of calls made to and from his mobile phone. The records revealed that a number of short calls! were made from Pattani Razeek’s phone on the evening of 11 February, the day he went missing. On 15 February, a call from the phone was made to a CTF driver, who did not answer. When the call was eventually returned, there was no answer. A text message sent on 15 February to a member of Pattani Razeek’s family said that he was in Polonnaruwa and that he would be home soon. Since then, there has been no further communication.

His family lodged a complaint with the local police in Puttalam, and also reported his disappearance to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka. However, colleagues say the Human Rights Commission failed to give his relatives a reference number which they could use to follow up on the case. Nobody from the Commission has subsequently contacted them. Although Pattani Razeek’s disappearance was reported to the police, colleagues say that police have not been following up leads in the case.

The CTF works to protect human rights and promote equality. It also provides emergency assistance to ! civilians affected by Sri Lanka’s internal conflict.

 

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