Sri Lanka: Justice For Ragihar Manoharan and the Trinco Five
Ragihar Manoharan, a Sri Lankan Tamil student, and four fellow students had gathered for a chat near the seafront in the town of Trincomalee in northeastern Sri Lanka at about 7:00 p.m. on January 2, 2006, when a grenade was thrown at them from a passing auto rickshaw. The students ran, but at least three of them were injured in the explosion. A short while later, a group of 10 to 15 officers in uniform, believed to be police from the elite Special Task Force, arrived. They reportedly put the injured students into their jeep and beat them with rifle butts, and then pushed them out onto the road. According to a witness, the security forces personnel then shot the five students dead.
Despite subsequent court hearings and an investigation by a presidential commission of inquiry, no one has been convicted for these murders. Ragihar’s father gave evidence at the proceedings and then received death threats. Ultimately, Ragihar’s family was forced to flee Sri Lanka.
Justice for Ragihar and the rest of the Trinco Five has been one of the GOTB actions for several years. In July 2013, due to the mounting international pressure, the Sri Lankan government arrested 12 Police Special Task Force members in connection with the murders. All 12 were out on bail while the case was pending. In July 2019, the court acquitted all of the defendants due to lack of sufficient evidence. The Sri Lankan Attorney General later ordered the police to re-open investigations into the killings. We are continuing to call on the Sri Lankan government to effectively investigate and prosecute those who murdered Ragihar Manoharan and the rest of the “Trinco Five."
The 2021 report on Sri Lanka by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said that the High Commissioner’s office had been tracking the investigation and prosecution by the Sri Lankan government of several emblematic cases, including the Trinco Five students, as a key measure of Sri Lanka’s commitment to ending impunity. The report noted that none of these cases has been brought to a successful conclusion or conviction.
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Tibet/China: End mass detentions of Uyghur people and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience
This year's Get on the Bus will once again call for the immediate and unconditional release of political prisoners being held by the Chinese government.
Ilham Tohti has been held by the Chinese Government for more than five years. He was an economics professor at Central University for Nationalities in Beijing. He has worked for two decades to build understanding between Uighurs and Han Chinese. Rejecting separatism and violence, he tried to reconcile differences between these ethnic groups. Uighurs, a mainly Muslim Turkic ethnic group, have faced widespread discrimination in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwest China.
In January 2014, Ilham Tohti was taken from his home in Beijing by police. For five months, family and friends were not told where he was. He was denied food for 10 days and his feet were shackled for 20 days straight. In September 2014, following an unfair trial, he was sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of separatism.
Amnesty International recognizes Ilham Tohti as a prisoner of conscience, and continues to call for his immediate and unconditional release. Amnesty also is calling for the release of the many other Uighur scholars and community members who are being unrightfully detained.
Tibetan monk Rinchen Tsultrim was sentenced to four years and six months in prison in March 2020 without a fair trial. His family members only learned of the sentencing a year later when they were officially informed he was being held in an unnamed prison in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. No other information about his condition or even the charges against Tsultrim Rinchen have been shared to date. His family believes he has been imprisoned for expressing political views on his WeChat account and personal website. Without access to family and legal representation, there are grave concerns for Rinchen Tsultrim’s condition and wellbeing.
Read more and take action here: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/asa17/4339/2021/en/
Ilham Tohti Action Links: