Australia presses SL on missing activist

2012-04-09 06:43:49

Canberra said it was seeking "urgent clarification" Monday on the fate of an Australian man reported by his family and political party to have been abducted in Sri Lanka over his activism.

Joint Sri Lankan-Australian citizen Premakumar Gunaratnam, 42, went missing on Friday from Kiribathgoda, north of Colombo, where he was preparing to launch a new political party, according to his family and fellow activists.

Gunaratnam is the leader of a breakaway faction of the JVP, or People's Liberation Front. The JVP led two failed bids to violently overthrow governments in 1971 and 1987 in campaigns that left up to 100,000 people dead.

His radical splinter group, the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP), claimed that Gunaratnam and women's wing leader Dimuthu Attygalle had been taken away by security authorities ahead of the party's formal launch due on Monday.

Australia's foreign office said it had received reports that Gunaratnam "may have been abducted."

"We are seeking urgent clarification on the situation from the Sri Lankan authorities," a foreign office spokeswoman told AFP.

Gunaratnam's wife, Champa Somaratna, said her husband was an ethnic Tamil but was not affiliated with the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, defeated by Sri Lankan forces in 2009, ending a decades-long civil war that left up to 100,000 killed, according to UN estimates.

That JVP uprisings were unrelated to the civil war.

"He was arrested early in the morning. About 25 armed people entered the house. They threatened the neighbours and asked them to switch off the lights and close the windows and doors," Somaratna told Australia's ABC radio.

"Then they abducted him -- there is evidence about that inside the house."

Somaratna said her husband was launching the FSP "because of the unlawful abductions and the human rights violations in Sri Lanka" and his role as the party's main political activist had "a real connection" with his disappearance.

The FSP has blamed the "state and the government" for Gunaratnam's disappearance but police say he is not in their custody and Colombo has denied any involvement.

The Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission on Sunday expressed concern for his safety and said it was "no secret that the government and the ministry of defence are concerned" about FSP's activities.

Rights groups have reported dozens of abductions since the end of the island's civil war in 2009, but at least some of the incidents appear to have been private disputes or underworld activities. (AFP)

  Comments - 31

  • Fazli Monday, 9 April 2012 07:07

    Virtual Timed Bomp tied onn

    Reply : 7       52

    Fayad Monday, 9 April 2012 09:53

    Aborigines are waiting to get their due rights in Australia for the past 300 years

    Reply : 106       54

    TMA Monday, 9 April 2012 09:37

    They already got it. Check the welfare system of Australia specially created for Aborogines

    41       106

    Joseph Tuesday, 10 April 2012 01:44

    When did he come to Sri Lanka from Australia ? Can all of you tell me. Did he ever come here ?

    Reply : 4       6

    Joseph Tuesday, 10 April 2012 01:52

    It has now been revealed ( 10th April 2012) that the missing Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) leader, Premkumar Gunaratnam, used an Australian passport (N 1016123) bearing the name, Noel Mudalige, to return to Sri Lanka last September. Aussy government knew of this frudamental passport and given the number to SL government after SL government found no Premkumar Gunaratnam has come to SL.

    Reply : 3       3

    defRep Monday, 9 April 2012 07:08

    He was captured not because of his political activism, he was captured because he posed a threat to national security.

    Any elements who pose a threat to national security will be dealt with by the Ministry of Defence, forgot about the police or any police division for that matter.

    Reply : 162       57

    TMA Monday, 9 April 2012 07:57

    Then Y abduct? He wud've been arrested?

    Reply : 25       86

    j Monday, 9 April 2012 08:11

    If he treat to national Security or regime can be arrest and accept that action not denial
    Ranil, Somawansa Bahu also treat to same way.

    Reply : 17       32

    sack Monday, 9 April 2012 07:09

    and dear aussie governemnt,
    when did this person entered SL?
    what was his passport no & name?

    because there is no record of "Premakumar Gunaratnam" entering SL. A person known as "Premakumar Gunaratnam" has left country in early 1990s and he hasn't returned.

    That Premakumar Gunaratnams mother has claimed to the police that her son left the country in early 1990s & never returned back.

    so called "Premakumar Gunaratnam" wife has claimed that she is NOT married to a person known as "Premakumar Gunaratnam".

    and if "Premakumar Gunaratnam" is a aussie citizen, how is he involved in politics of a another country (active politics by forming a party). Do note that duel-citizenship is no longer valid.

    So basically a person who was in hiding has gone missing, as claimed by his "friends". Before starting with "going missing" is there any official record that such a person was in the country (for him to go missing)???

    Reply : 158       63

    what the fish Monday, 9 April 2012 09:46

    and you think you have made a case. What fun.

    Reply : 29       60

    J.Voet Monday, 9 April 2012 15:34

    Its a very valid argument in a court of law!

    15       22

    Bigfoot Monday, 9 April 2012 07:13

    it is all about human rights which is now disappearing. Time for the international community to act. Sanctions?

    Reply : 50       107

    mohan Monday, 9 April 2012 07:21

    Financial Sanctions against i few individual will do the job need fullty , why should they bring Sanctions against poor people

    Reply : 18       60

    Ranjith Monday, 9 April 2012 10:55

    Same poor people elected those few individual. So who should be punished?

    14       36

    bah Monday, 9 April 2012 07:17

    he might be intelligent man thats why...

    Reply : 18       25

    Google_Modawansa Monday, 9 April 2012 07:23

    The inaugural convention of the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) will have to be held Sydney or Melbourne.

    Reply : 49       36

    Calistus Jayatilleke Monday, 9 April 2012 07:26

    This trend of abductions is going too far and the government is unwittingly internatinolising the issue which will result in severe sanctions for violation of human rights. The ultimate sufferers would be the general public of this country.

    Reply : 23       83

    Roger Monday, 9 April 2012 07:31

    Julia Gillard get to the bottom of this ASAP this is a Australian

    Reply : 31       52

    hasthi Monday, 9 April 2012 10:06

    Oh my God... let her be... otherwise they will complain she also vanished..

    Reply : 16       14

    RAJU Monday, 9 April 2012 07:54


    Reply : 17       68

    shantha madawela Monday, 9 April 2012 08:11

    New reconciliation work or UNHRC

    Reply : 10       24

    Sue Monday, 9 April 2012 08:23

    These are the HR violations we're talking about. It does not matter who or what. Humans cannot be abducted like this. International HR Commissions please take action and do something soon; but do not to heap more burdens on the poor citizens of SL which is what you usually do; but take action against the top people who are involved in these violations. In the end its we that suffer and not them.

    Reply : 16       41

    Just Another Citizen Monday, 9 April 2012 08:42

    As citizens of this country we deserve the right to know as well. Because it means that we are not safe even in our own backyard.

    Reply : 14       45

    NE Monday, 9 April 2012 08:54

    Honestly I also like to know whether an Australian citizen can form a political party in SL while on a visitors VISA?

    Reply : 45       32

    Alex Monday, 9 April 2012 09:25

    @ sack

    who says dual citizenship is no longer valid,

    now sri lanka dont allow dual citizenship but no one can cancel dual citizenship given earlier.

    please educate yourself before putting these comments,

    and the most valuable thing to note is see how much these countries are concerned about their citizens

    Reply : 13       56

    sures rakawa Monday, 9 April 2012 09:59

    It dosn,t matter Australian or Sri Lankan this could happen to you and me so get up!

    Reply : 18       55

    cholan Monday, 9 April 2012 11:21

    This trend will continue

    Reply : 11       30

    Sanjaya Monday, 9 April 2012 11:50

    Two persons are missing in the latest wave of abductions. They may have different political ideology to those in power. However, right to life should not be denied because of that. Dual citizens have rights even when they are not part of the ruling party.

    Reply : 10       37

    Alert Monday, 9 April 2012 23:49

    I don't think that this is an act of the government, or any other political party. This could be a well organized program of their party itself to gain a very good initial publicity locally and internationally. They have already achieved it.
    I am sure Kumar Gunarathnum and Dimuthu Artigala will comeback to their political arena soon.

    Reply : 5       7

    Joseph Tuesday, 10 April 2012 01:46

    Good one.... I totally agree. We never knew about this party till this complain came through...

    Reply : 2       7

    dinesh withanage Tuesday, 10 April 2012 05:40

    he appeared in another name is wrong

    Reply : 2       3

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