On Tuesday, December 6, Sri Lankan student activists Wasantha Mudalige and Siridhamma Thero were granted bail by a lower court after more than 90 days of detention.
According to NewsFirst Lanka, the two student leaders were produced in court on charges of destroying or causing harm to public property at an anti-government aragalaya protest. The Kaduwela Magistrate’s Court released the two on bail of Rupees 100,000 each.
While Thero will be released under the court’s bail order, Mudalige remains detained until bail instructions from the Attorney General’s department are issued on December 12.
Mudalige is the convenor of the Inter-Student University Federation (IUSF) and Thero is convenor of the Inter-University Bhikku Federation (IUBF). They were detained on August 18 under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act (PTA) for 90 days and were later remanded by the court.
16 university students were arrested during an IUSF protest on August 18, but were released on bail the next day. Mudalige, Thero, and another IUSF activist, Harshan Jeewantha, were placed under detention. Jeewantha was subsequently granted bail, but Mudalige and Thero continued to be in detention.
In recent months, civil society members along with student unions ramped up calls for the release of the two student leaders at various protests. Multiple simultaneous protests were organized by the IUSF in Colombo on November 18, the 90th day of detention of the two student activists under the PTA.
The @IUSFSL organised an islandwide signature campaign yesterday calling for the release of student leaders, Wasantha Mudalige & Siridhamma himi, #RepealPTA, bring down the cost of living & unfair taxation, stop privatising education & the freedom to live. pic.twitter.com/a160mRniP1
— Mari (@EmDeeS11) December 1, 2022