Three children allege “CID Officers” tried to coerce them to implicate madrassah in arms training

ECONOMYNEXT – Three minors, all students of the Al-Zuhairiya Arabic School in Karaitivu have filed Fundamental Rights petitions before the Supreme Court alleging that officials who identified themselves as Policemen forcibly took them from their parents and attempted to make them sign false documents.

The parents of the children have signed the petitions which have been filed by Attorney Prabuddhika Tissera.

The Acting Inspector General of Police C D Wickremaratne, the Director of the CID Senior Superintendent of Police W Tillekeratne and the Attorney General have been named as respondents.

In the petitions, the students, whom we will not name, said that the men identified themselves as CID officers.

The boys say they were questioned about the activities of the school and asked whether they were taught to handle weapons and carry out violent acts. He was also asked whether a violent philosophy was taught in the school.

In the petition, the boy said he denied any such education was imparted.

Instead, he said they were taught Islam, English, Mathematics and Computers.

The boy also alleged that his alleged abductors forced them to sign blank pieces of paper.

In a petition which we have in our possession, the boy says that he was offered a scholarship at this school as his parents did not have the wherewithal to send him to school in his place of residence.

He would visit his home for vacations, he says.

He also said that his interlocutors showed him pictures of various individuals and asked them whether they were teachers in the Al-Zuhairiya school.

He also alleges that his abductors videotaped him while he was being questioned.

On April 28, he was taken by the same men and repeatedly questioned about the same matters.

Again he says he denied these activities occurred at the school.

He says he has suffered emotional pain and fear as a result of these interrogations.

He also says he fears for his safety and the safety of his family and further legal action against him.

In the petition the boy asks the court to have the detention order against him, any papers that he may have been forced to sign and any videotapes to be produced before the court.

Lawyers advising these boys have asked them to file a complaint to the Human Rights Commission about this matter. (Colombo, May 13, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana