CCPR/C/118/D/2412/2014

Articles of the Covenant:

7, 9, 10 and 14

Articles of the Optional Protocol:

5 (2) (b)

1.
The author of the communication is Roy Manojkumar Samathanam, a Canadian
national, born on 20 September 1970 in Sri Lanka. He claims that the State party violated
his rights under articles 7, 9, 10 and 14 of the Covenant. The Optional Protocol to the
Covenant entered into force for Sri Lanka on 3 January 1998. The author is represented by
counsel.
The facts as submitted by the author
2.1
The author was born in Colombo and is an ethnic Tamil. In 1990, he went to Canada
and requested refugee status. Later, he became a Canadian citizen. In 2005, he took
advantage of a lull in the civil war to return to Sri Lanka and marry the woman who is now
his wife. When she became pregnant, they decided to remain in Sri Lanka until the child
was born. The author claims that from time to time, he assisted a friend with the
importation of goods for the friend’s computer software shop. In September 2007, the
friend imported 600 mobile phones into Sri Lanka, which were delivered to the author’s
house, to wait for the friend to pick them up the next day. On 14 September 2007 at night,
plainclothes officers arrived at the author’s home, armed with machine guns. They
identified themselves as being part of the Terrorist Investigation Division and asked to
inspect the boxes of goods in the author’s house. He explained to the officers that the goods
belonged to his friend. The officers told him that there was a Global Positioning System
(GPS) device in the boxes and that this was illegal.
2.2
The author claims that subsequently he was handcuffed, blindfolded and transported
to a Terrorist Investigation Division detention facility in downtown Colombo. The officers
who took him to the facility threatened to kill him. His pregnant wife and their child were
placed under house arrest, guarded by officers of the Division. They were not permitted to
contact anyone. However, his wife managed to contact her family and the High
Commission of Canada after she threw a note through a window to a neighbour to inform
them of what was happening. The officers also arrested the author’s friend and took him to
the detention facility. The author claims that the officer in charge of the detention facility
informed the author that it was illegal to possess a GPS device and questioned him for a
period of 10 to 15 minutes. The officer accused the author of being a member of the
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and told him that they had evidence to that effect.
Later he was also accused of operating the intelligence wing of LTTE in Toronto, Canada.
2.3
The author was detained at the detention facility from 14 September 2007 for an
initial period of 90 days, by order of the Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Defence,
pursuant to paragraph 1 of regulation 19 of the Emergency (Miscellaneous Provisions and
Powers) Regulations. According to the order, the Ministry of Defence authorities were of
the opinion that such a measure was necessary to prevent the author from acting in a
manner prejudicial to the national security or the maintenance of public order, as there were
reasons to suspect that he was involved in the commission of offences by illegally
importing high-tech communication and radar equipment and providing them to LTTE.
2.4
Within a few days of his arrest, the author was visited by an official from the
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Canada and a local staff member
of the High Commission. The meeting took place in the office of the Officer-in-Charge,
who was present, and lasted 10–15 minutes. The author told the Canadian officials that he
did not know the reasons for his arrest and asked them to look into the situation of his wife
and daughter. He also told them that he was diabetic and that he had been without
medication since his arrest.

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