Sri Lanka
10.02.11
Urgent Interventions

One year after the disappearance of Mr. Pattani Razeek, still not significant progress in the investigation of his case

URGENT APPEAL – THE OBSERVATORY

New information

LKA 001 / 0210 / OBS 021.1

Enforced disappearance / Impunity

Sri Lanka

February 10, 2011


TheObservatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme ofthe World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federationfor Human Rights (FIDH), has received new information and requests your urgentintervention in the following situation in SriLanka.

Newinformation:

The Observatory has been informed byreliable sources that on February 10, 2011, ahearing in the case of the disappearance of Mr. Pattani Razeek, ManagingTrustee of the Community Trust Fund (CTF) and a member of the ExecutiveCommittee of the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA),should have been held in Puttalam High Court in Sri Lanka.

On February 10, 2011, the Puttalam High Court was due to examine ananticipatory bail application made by Mr. Shabdeen Nowshadh[1],the main suspect in thedisappearance of Mr. Razeek, but it decided to postpone the hearing to March23, 2011. Mr. Nowshadh's first application for ananticipatory bail application was first rejected by the Court in June 2010. He appealed the decision to the High Court and finally obtained hisapplication to be heard in December 2010. The hearing was then postponed toFebruary 3, 2011 and then to February 10, 2011.

According to the informationreceived, the criminal investigation led by the police on Mr. Razeek’sdisappearance is ongoing and Mr. Shabdeen Nowshadh, Chairman of a Subcommitteeof the CTF and reportedly close acquaintance of the Minister of Industry andCommerce, has been identified as themain suspect by the police. Policeinvestigations reportedly revealed that Mr. Nowshadh had used Mr. Razeek’s mobile phone to call his residence after theabduction. Moreover, Mr. Nowshadhreportedly confirmed that he had met Mr. Razeek on February 11, 2010 at theJumma Mosque, Kaduruwela, Pollonaruwa, as he was traveling with Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, amongst otherpersons.

The Observatory alsohighlights that, according to the information received, following thedisappearance Mr. Pattani Razeek, Mr. Irashad, Coordinator of the Minister of Industry and Commerce RishadBathirudeen, reportedly made a public statement claiming that Mr. Razeek hadacted as an intermediary to the transfer of funds from Central IntelligenceAgency (CIA) to the IS to the LiberationTigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and that Mr. Razeek was detained inthe custody of the Defense Secretary. However, to date, his whereabouts areunknown to his family and colleagues.

The Observatory is deeply concerned by the non-resolution of Mr.Pattani Razeek’s disappearance case one year later, and by the apparentunwillingness of the police to arrest the main suspect in spite of the seriousevidence highlighting the alleged involvement of Mr. Shabdeen Nowshadh in the case.

Background information

Mr. Pattani Razeek has been missing since February 11,2010. According to the information received, he was last seen in Polonnaruwa,a town in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka, in the afternoon of February11, 2010. Mr. Razeek was then travelling together with other staff members ofCTF on their way home from a mission when their van was intercepted by anothervehicle, a white van[2].

Mr. Pattani Razeek approached the men in the white van and exchanged greetings with them. After talking to them for some minutes, Mr. Razeek went back to his colleagues and told them that he would continue his journey in the white van that according to him was heading to the Easternprovincial town of Valaichchenai, telling them that he would meet them later.

On February 12, 2010, the CTF wasinformed by Mr. Razeek’s family that he never returned home from the mission.Since then, his whereabouts remainunknown.

On February 16, 2010, Mr. Razeek’s family was able toconvince his mobile phone company to release some of the phone records comingfrom his mobile phone. The records revealed that a number of short calls weremade from Mr. Razeek’s mobile phone on the evening of February 11, the day hewas last seen by his colleagues. On February 15, 2010, a call from Mr. Razeek’smobile phone was made to a CTF driver, but it was missed. When the call wasreturned, there was no answer. On the same day, a text message was sent fromMr. Razeek’s mobile phone to amember of his family, in which he assured that he was in Polonnaruwa town andthat he would be coming back home soon. Since then, there has been no furthercontacts, nor responses to calls andtext messages.

Subsequently, Mr. Pattani Razeek’s family lodged a complaint within thelocal police authorities in the city of Puttalam. They also filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission ofSri Lanka. However, the Commission has never been in touch with Mr. Razeek’sfamily or friends.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Sri Lanka asking them to:

i. Take prompt action in orderto disclose the whereabouts of Mr. PattaniRazeek and ensure his immediate release;

ii. Guarantee in all circumstancesthe physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Pattani Razeek;

iii. Question Mr. Nowshadhon his possible involvement in the disappearance of Mr. Razeek;

iv. Immediately order a thorough,effective and impartial investigation into Mr. Pattani Razeek’s enforced disappearance, the result of which must be made public, in order to identify all those responsible, bringthem before a competent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the penalsanctions provided by the law;

v. Conform with the provisionsof the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, especially:

- its article 1, which statesthat “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, topromote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights andfundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”;

- and its article 9.5, whichprovides that “the state should conduct a prompt and impartial investigation orensure that an inquiry takes place whenever there is a reasonable ground tobelieve that a violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms has occurredin any territory under its jurisdiction”.

-

Addresses:

  • President Mahinda Rajapakse, Presidential Secretariat, C/- Office of the President,Temple Trees 150, Galle Road,Colombo 3, Sri Lanka, Fax: +94 11 472100 / +94 11 2446657, Email: secretary@presidentsoffice.lk
  • Mr. Mohan Peiris, Attorney General, Attorney General’s Department, Colombo 12, Sri Lanka, Fax: +94 11 2 436421
  • Mrs. Chandra Ellawala, Secretary, Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, 118, Barnes Place, Colombo 07, Sri Lanka. Fax +94 2694924, Hotline +94 2689064. Email: sechrc@slnet.lk
  • Mr. Mahinda Balasuriya, Inspector General Of Police (IGP), New Secretariat, Colombo 1, Sri Lanka. Fax no. +94 11 2 440440, Email: igp@police.lk
  • National Police Commission, 3rd Floor, Rotunda Towers, 109 Galle Road, Colombo 03, Sri Lanka, Fax: +94 11 2 395867 / +94 11-2395866. E-mail: npcgen@sltnet.lk / polcom@sltnet.lk
  • Her Excellency Mrs. Kshenuka Senewiratne, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva, 56 rue De Moillebeau, 5th Floor, 1211 Geneva 19, Switzerland, Fax: + 41-22 734 90 84, E-mail: mission@lankamission.org / consulate@lankamission.org
  • Embassy of Sri Lanka in Brussels, 27 rue Jules Lejeune, 1050 Ixelles, Belgium. Tel: + 32 2 344 53 94/ + 32 2 344 55 85. Fax : + 32 2 344 67 37. Email: sri.lanka@euronet.be

Please also write to the diplomaticmission or embassy of Sri Lanka in your respective country.

*******

Geneva-Paris, February 10,2011.

Kindlyinform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in yourreply.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

· Email: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

· Tel and fax OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 4929

· Tel and fax FIDH: +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / 01 43 5518 80


[1] According to Article 21.1 of the Bail Act, No 30 of 1997When any person has reason to believe that he may bearrested on account of his being suspected of having committed, or beenconcerned in committing, a non-bailable offence he may with notice to theofficer in-charge of the police station of the area in which the offence isalleged to have been committed, apply to the Magistrate having jurisdictionover the area in which such offence is alleged to have been committed, for adirection that in the event of his arrest on the allegation that he issuspected of having committed, or been concerned in the commission of, suchoffence he shall be released on bail.”

[2] InSri Lanka, ‘white vans’ have been known to be the preferred vehicles of groupsresponsible for abductions and disappearances.

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