It is with great joy that we announce the release of Anjella Croos (25) the young English teacher who was imprisoned for almost 02 years at the Raja Veediya remand prison in Kandy as a “Terror” suspect. Prior to her arrest on the 10th August 2009 Anjela was teaching at an Teldeniya, Bopitiya Nawalar estate Tamil school, Her release came after the hard work of her father Anthony Croos along with the Human Rights office staff in Kandy. Anjela suffered from Lupers and was on medication before her arrest, but until the Supreme Court ordered the prison authorities to allow Anjela to consult her doctor, she had to suffer with her illness without proper treatment. It is with gratitude we mention Mr. Palitha Fernando, the additional solicitor general whose intervention made possible for Anjela to see the life out of the walls of the prison. We extend our sincere appreciation to all those who cared for her and joined our campaign to free her. On the instructions of the attorney generals’ department the high court of Judge in Kandy finally pronounced that Anjela is innocent and she walked out of the prison on the 15th March 2011.
Soon after her release Anjela was taken for counseling by Sr Mabel, our trauma counselor and she was prepared mentally and physically for the ceremonial delivery of testimony. The ceremony was held on the 28th May 2011 during the residential workshop of the “survivor” couples. This gave the chance for many of the survivors to attend the ceremony and all the ex-prisoners of the L.T.T.E suspects who had gone through the ceremonial delivery of testimony were present for the occasion. The chief jailor of the fe-male remand prison Nandanie Rajanayake who looked after Anjela was also present at the occasion. With the support group members there were more than 70 participants for the ceremonial delivery of her testimony.
The guests of honor for the occasion were Anjella and her parents. Tamil cultural elements of Alathi, garlanding of white flowers were used to welcome the guests of honor. The ritual Alathi meaning “we welcome you with joy” and where the saffron water is used giving the meaning of purification and cleanliness of the evil within and around and showering blessings on the survivor family. Anjella reached the ceremony hall accompanied by young maiden scattering white flowers on her way and beside her were her parents and all the participants.
Religious observance created an atmosphere preparing the minds and hearts of the chief guests and the participants for this great event with stillness and silence for the forth coming event of delivering the testimony. Audio visual presentation with a religious background invoked prayerful blessings for the occasion.
The lighting of the lamp was done by Anjella, her parents, the chief officer of the remand prison and Fr. Nanadana. The lamp was creatively made to befit the occasion with a cut-out of a young woman coming out of prison bars shattering the barriers.
The reading of the testimony and the encouragement were given by the family counselors of the Human Rights Office, Mr Ranjith & Mrs Shamali. Fr. Nanadana Director of the Human Rights Office shared with the audience his vision and his concerns of prison ministry. The participants were in tears when they greeted and encouraged Anjella and her parents or their courage, and expressed their solidarity and assured them of their continued assistance.
The ceremony came to a close with a tea party organized in honor of the survivors. It was a moment of great joy of meeting one another especially for the survivor group with a feeling of oneness in their life struggle, to resume living again.
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Human Rights Office Kandy, Torture in Sri Lanka, Disappearances in Sri Lanka, Healing and Counseling
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