- Title: SRI LANKA-ACTIVIST/RELEASE Tamil activist released from Sri Lankan prison on bail
- Date: 10th March 2015
- Summary: COLOMBO, SRI LANKA (MARCH 10, 2015) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF MAGISTRATES COURT SIGN READING (English): "CHIEF MAGISTRATE'S COURT, HULFTSDORP, COLOMBO - 12" BALENDERAN JAYAKUMARI WALKING OUT OF COURT PREMISES WITH HER LAWYERS JAYAKUMARI RECEIVING A GARLAND AND FLOWERS JAYAKUMARI WALKING ON STREET (SOUNDBITE) (Tamil) RELEASED PRISONER, BALENDERAN JAYAKUMARI, SAYING: "Me, without anyone's help, only my family members helped me. I didn't cause any troubles. I didn't do anything wrong, they brought me here and kept me for one whole year. I don't know for what reason I am treated like this. What wrong did I do? I didn't do anything wrong." JAYAKUMARI BEEN GREETED BY FRIENDS AND FAMILY JAYAKUMARI WALKING ACROSS STREET VARIOUS OF JAYAKUMARI BEEN GREETED BY FRIENDS AND FAMILY
- Reuters ID: LVABX5JDZ7HMX1OPG8PVEENFGLI
- Location: Sri Lanka
- Country: Sri Lanka
- Duration: 00:01:32
- Topics: General
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None
- Story Text: Activist Balenderan Jayakumari was released from prison on bail on Tuesday (March 10) after spending nearly a year behind bars accused of giving refuge to a senior Tamil Tiger rebel.
An ethnic Tamil woman who has become a prominent face in the effort to find out what happened to the tens of thousands who disappeared in the final stages of Sri Lanka's 26-year war, Jayakumari was arrested in March 2014.
At the time Sri Lankan police said she was arrested in Sri Lanka's former northern war zone of Kilinochchi on the charge of harbouring a criminal who shot at a police officer to evade arrest.
However the Tamil National Alliance, which was the political proxy of the now-defeated Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), said she was being punished for repeatedly protesting over the fate of her son, an under-age rebel who disappeared after the Tigers surrendered to the government at the end of the war in May 2009.
Speaking to reporters outside Colombo's Chief Magistrates Court following her release Jayakumari maintained her innocence.
"I didn't cause any troubles. I didn't do anything wrong, they brought me here and kept me for one whole year. I don't know for what reason I am treated like this. What wrong did I do? I didn't do anything wrong," she said.
Eight others also accused of involvement were also released on bail.
Jayakumari was arrested alongside her 13-year-old daughter, her only surviving child. A police spokesman said the daughter was taken into police custody for her own safety because there was nobody to look after her and the mother was not willing to give her to a third party.
Jayakumari and her daughter regularly stood at the forefront of protests over the fate of the disappeared held when dignitaries visited Kilinochchi.
Sri Lanka has faced international criticism over its conduct in the final phase of the war. The West and United Nations have asked the island nation to investigate alleged war crimes and continuing human rights abuses.
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- Embargoed:25th March 2015 12:00