Calling on Australian Govt. to ensure fair treatment and expedite investigations into the arrest
We the undersigned activists, human rights organisations and concerned citizens from Sri Lanka, are deeply disturbed to learn of the arrest and detention of 25-year-old Mohamed Kamer Nilar Nizamdeen.
Kamer was arrested on 30 August by Australian authorities, and according to his family, he has since been placed in solitary confinement under high security. We understand that he is being kept in custody on suspicion of ‘collecting or making documents likely to facilitate terrorist acts’, an offence under Australia’s Criminal Code Act of 1995.
According to Kamer’s family, he was permitted to contact one family member at the time of his arrest, but was denied access to legal counsel and family members immediately thereafter. He did not have legal representation when he was produced before judicial authorities to consider the granting of bail, and was thereafter denied bail. Kamer was granted access to an attorney on 7 September, seven days after his arrest. However, his family claims that they still have no proper access to him.
We are alarmed by the lack of information on Kamer’s situation in detention, on whether investigations into the allegations against him have been completed, and on whether he has been formally charged. We have witnessed an outpouring of sympathy and support for Kamer in Sri Lanka, particularly on social media, and reiterate the consistent calls by his family and friends for the expeditious conclusion of investigations.
We also call upon the Australian Government to ensure speedy investigations and justice for others detained under counter terror laws at numerous detention centres, including offshore detention centres, and denied due process like Kamer.
Sri Lanka has undergone four decades of grave repression and gross human rights violations under its Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). The PTA is often described as one of the most draconian counter-terrorism laws in the world. Some of the most repressive practices under the PTA include, holding suspects incommunicado, and denying them communication with family members and access to legal counsel. In view of this terrible legacy, Sri Lankan activists have consistently called for the repeal of the PTA. In this context, we condemn that Australia has invoked its counter terrorism laws which are inherently against human rights and transparency.
We accordingly call upon the Australian Government to ensure that investigations into allegations against Kamer are concluded expeditiously, and that he is guaranteed the right to communicate regularly with his family. We further call upon the Australian government to ensure that Kamer is provided with the full range of fair trial rights, including the right to frequently communicate with, and receive advice from his attorney.
Further, we call upon the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sri Lanka, to continue to monitor Kamer’s case, ensure regular visits by the Consulate, obtain information from Australian authorities and update his family and the public on the case, and insist that the Australian government protect Kamer’s fundamental rights.
Ameena Hussein – Writer
Bishop Duleep de Chickera
Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe
Cayathri D – Independent Researcher
– Freelance Writer
Dr. Arjuna Parakrama
Dr. Kumudu Kusum Kumara
Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu
Dr. Suren Raghavan
Dulan de Silva
Emil van der Poorten
– A supporter of civic and human rights for all
Gavin Van Sanden
Hasanah Cegu Isadeen
Jiffry Packeer Mohideen
Kimaya de Silva
Lakshman Gunasekara – Journalist
Mahendran Thiruvarangan – Lecturer (probationary), University of Peradeniya
Marisa de Silva
Munza Mushtaq – Journalist
Prof. Jayantha Seneviratne
Prof. Qadri Ismail
Prof. Sumathy Sivamohan
– University of Peradeniya
Rev. Fr. Aloysius Pieris, S.J.
Rev. Fr. Jeyabalan Croos
Rev. Fr. M. V. E. Ravichandran
Rev. Fr. Nandana Manatunga
Rev. Fr. Rohan Dominic
– Claretian Missionaries
Rev. Fr. S.D.P. Selvan
Rev. Fr. Sarath Iddamalgoda
Rev. Sr. Helen Fernando
Rev. Sr. Nichola Emmanuel
Rev. Sr. Rasika Pieris
Saarah Dean Ismail
Sam Perera – Publisher
Shenali De Silva
Shreen Abdul Saroor
Srinath Perera – General Secretary, Free Trade
Suren D. Perera
Alliance Development Trust (ADT)
Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA)
Human Rights Office (HRO)
INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre
National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO)
Women and Media Collective (WMC)