BY Ruwan Laknath Jayakody
Sri Lankan citizens who sought political asylum abroad are being victimized on their return to the country in response to an invitation given by President Maithripala Sirisena, Attorney-at-Law Senaka Perera said.
He said, Tamil activist Puniyamoorthy Sasikaran, a resident of Batticaloa, had been arrested on 20, January by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) upon arrival at Katunayake on flight UL#319. Sasikaran fled the country by boat for Australia four years ago due to death threats and being followed by white vans during the former Mahinda Rajapaksa Government.
"We have evidence of the suppression and oppression he had suffered. He had entered Australia illegally having gone to Australia as an asylum seeker by boat. The CID had hence arrested him for violating immigration and emigration laws and for going overseas without a valid passport. He left at a time when he could not leave legally via the airport. Sasikaran had worked as a journalist in Australia and was months away from obtaining permanent residency when he heard of Sirisena's open invitation to all those who had sought asylum abroad to return home to Sri Lanka. He then decided to return home, but ended up in the hands of the Police. We want human rights movements to address this issue. There should be a more open channel and a smooth procedure to facilitate a hassle-free re-entry to Sri Lanka by all Tamils who left for foreign climes illegally or legally. A mechanism must be established," he said.
Sasikaran was to be produced before the Negombo Magistrate's Court yesterday (21).