Jan Logie in Trouble

jan logieSri Lanka hassles local MP on civil rights mission

Kapiti Green list MP Jan Logie was detained at her Sri Lankan hotel after immigration officials confiscated her passport, says the Green Party.

She and Australian Senator for New South Wales Lee Rhiannon were accused of violating immigration laws. 

They were on a human rights mission ahead of a Commonwealth leaders’ summit this week. Ms Logie is now due back in N.Z.

In Sri Lanka, shortly after their arrival four immigration officials shut down a press conference and then seized their passports.

The two politicians entered Sri Lanka on a ‘Special Projects’ Tourist Visa, which they believed would allow them to carry out work as visiting members of parliament.

“They are still at the hotel awaiting advice from the Australian High Commission before they give statements. Sri Lankan media are present,” a Green Party   spokeswoman said after the two women were detained.

After the incident and the problem with Sri Lankan authorities, Ms Logie was flying back to New Zealand.

She had not been permitted to meet  Abraham Sumanthiran, a prominent human rights lawyer and MP for the Tamil National Alliance.

Rhiannon says that officials took her and Logie back to their hotel, and tried to separate them to interrogate them individually.

Rhiannon resisted this, and rang Australia’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Robyn Mudie, for assistance.

“This excessive response from the government of Sri Lanka is just further evidence why the country should not have been awarded the right to host Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, and the chair of CHOGM for two years,” she says.

“Our detention highlights the Sri Lankan government is unwilling to allow a free exchange of ideas.”

Rhiannon says that  during her visit to Sri Lanka she had seen evidence of severe, and worsening, government repression.

She says: “Elected officials and members of civil society in Sri Lanka have provided us with examples of massive illegal land confiscation by the armed forces; people being jailed and detained with regular disregard for legal rights; violence, often involving rape of women and children, with no police investigation of these crimes; and ongoing intimidation of media workers.”