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What is happening with the detainees now?

What is happening with the detainees now?

2016 Jun 12

Sri Lanka’s draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) will be undergoing a much-needed reform with the Government deciding to enact three fresh laws to protect security and promote law and order. However, these new laws have to undergo many rounds of discussions to be adequately transparent and include progressive clauses for the reforms to be successful.

Minister of Law and Order, Sagala Ratnayake has informed the United Nations (UN) Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate of the three new proposed laws to replace the PTA. Minister Ratnayake said that the Government had decided to enact three new laws relating to the national and public security and law and order, to comprehensively and efficiently respond to the contemporary manifestations and threats of extremism and terrorism, other attacks on national security including organized crime and to address the issues of public order and for the maintenance of essential services.

Government discussions centered around the revision of anti-terrorism legislation including technical assistance to draft comprehensive counter-terrorism legislation to replace the PTA, in accordance with the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) Resolutions and in keeping with international best practices.
The PTA lengthens the detention period of those suspected of involvement in terrorism, detained under Emergency Regulations promulgated under the Public Security Ordinance. The Police can detain suspects for as long as 18 months without filing charges against them. The PTA goes further as to usurp the powers of the detainee to seek relief from the Superior Courts (Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court). Section 10 of the PTA specifically states that, ‘Any order made under Section 9 shall be final and shall not be called into question by any Court or tribunal by way of writ or otherwise.’

Furthermore, not only does the PTA undermine the terms in the Constitution but it also disregards various international instruments to which Sri Lanka is party to and is thus bound by ‘international law’ to uphold. Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that, ‘No one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest, detention or trial.’ Moreover Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that, ‘Everyone has the right to liberty and security, and no one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest or detention.’

Now the war has ended and the question which then comes to mind is whether the terms of the said Act can be amended to at least reflect the greatly improved security situation in Sri Lanka post-war. Under the Evidence Ordinance, confessions made to the Police or other public officers and confessions made while in the custody of the Police are not admissible as dispositive evidence in ordinary criminal cases, unless they are made in the presence of a Magistrate. Yet such confessions are admissible under the provisions of the PTA.
Human rights defenders argue that the practice of making confessions to ordinary Police officers must be changed by which either a Superintendent of Police or a Deputy Inspector General of Police can hear the confessions. These are just a few technical issues that a new set of laws will have to tackle. The larger challenge will be the political difficulties of pushing forward reconciliation when opportunistic politicians will use it as a window to whip up anti-minority hysteria as well as figuring out how best to deal with people already detained under the PTA. ________________________________________- See more at: http://www.ft.lk/article/537258/PTA-reform#sthash.juZn551t.dpuf

Meanwhile, issuing directives based on the Directives on Arrest and Detention issued by previous heads of State and binding international human rights law standards to be followed by designated officials arresting persons under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act, No. 48 of 1979, in order to ensure that the fundamental rights of the persons arrested or detained are respected and protected, and such persons are treated humanely, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) observed that the PTA should be construed narrowly and used in very specific circumstances, and should not be used to arrest persons for ordinary crimes.
The HRCSL informed that officials of the Commission or any person authorized by it should be permitted access to persons arrested, detained in custody or confined under the PTA.
The HRCSL noted that they should be permitted to enter, at any time, any place of detention (only to be held at gazetted authorized detention centres), Police station or any other place at which such person was detained in custody or confined.
The HRCSL directives addressed aspects concerning the arrest process, the process to be followed after the arrest, and special measures related to the arrest of women and persons under 18 years and highlighted that the HRCSL should be informed of arrests and detentions and the place of custody and detention under the PTA and of any transfers or releases.
“These directives should be equally applicable to any situation of a declared state of public emergency. Arrests or detentions under the PTA or orders for such must be in accordance with the law, must follow proper procedure, and must only be done by legally authorized persons. The person making the arrest should identify himself/herself by name and rank and show identification to the person being arrested or a relative or a friend of such person. The reason for the arrest must be informed to the arrestee. The person making the arrest or detention shall issue to the spouse, parents, or relations, an arrest receipt acknowledging the fact of arrest. Seizure of property must be notified in a similar manner. The time and date of arrest, and the place at which the person will be detained shall also be specified. The receipt shall be attested by the person to whom the receipt is issued, and be counter signed by the arrestee, whose name, address, identity card number and reason for arrest shall also be stated in the receipt. The receipt shall be issued in the language that the arrested person ordinarily uses. Where it is not possible to issue an arrest receipt, the arresting officer, if a Police officer, shall make an entry in the Information Book detailing reasons why it was not possible to issue the receipt. The arrested or detained person shall be allowed to communicate with a family member, relative or friend to inform of his/her whereabouts if person is arrested when not in the presence of family or relatives. Searches of the arrested must be done with due respect to dignity and care for the right to privacy, without force or aggression. In the case of forcible resistance to arrest, minimum force to overcome such resistance may be used, however injuries to the person being arrested, visible or otherwise, should be avoided. Medical assistance must be arranged and provided for by the Police. This must be recorded contemporaneously in a register along with any major or minor visible injuries on his/her body. The arrested should be produced before a Judicial Medical Officer as soon as possible, and no later than 48 hours after the arrest. The arrestee shall be permitted to meet his/her lawyer during interrogation. The statement of a person arrested or detained should be recorded in the language of that person's choice. A person who desires to make a statement in his/her own handwriting should be permitted to do so. Adequate provision for basic amenities like food, proper ventilation, light, bedding, sanitation facilities, mosquito net or coil, should be made available in all lockups. Any detainee who alleges that s/he has been raped or sexually abused must be given an immediate medical examination. Women Police officers should be present where the person being arrested is a woman or a person under 18 years of age and a person of their choice should be allowed to accompany them to the place of questioning. Immediately following arrest the arrested should be allowed and supported to make childcare arrangements for the children in their care. If a child is separated from its mother, the mother should be immediately notified and kept continuously informed of the child's whereabouts and she should be given reasonable access to the child,” Chairperson of the HRCSL, Dr. Deepika Udagama outlined.
However, reputed Human Rights Lawyer, Lakshan Dias observed that unfortunately the directives issued by the HRCSL had not come to fruition in reality with the said directives not being the practice or the norm at the ground level with regards to processes to be adhered to and procedures to be followed when dealing with such matters pertaining to the PTA.
"I went to the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) to see a client of mine. The TID is still playing by their old tactics. When I mention directives by the HRCSL, they told me that even though the HRCSL had given directives, they would have to ask the client whether the client needed me and that the client needed to get his sister to tell him that they had hired me. Since the family visits day is Sunday, according to the TID, I have to wait till Sunday and therefore until Sunday, I am prevented from seeing my client. Can the HRCSL and the International Committee of the Red Cross intervene here, either by way of handing over the letter attesting to the retaining of a lawyer or by way of getting rid of these tactics adopted by the TID as otherwise even with HRCSL directives in this regard, a lawyer has to wait for a week until the day for family visits to meet his/her client and by which time anything bad could happen,” Dias explained.
The approximately 120 odd suspects detained under the PTA, are afforded a low priority by the civil society, the political leadership and the Government. The Centre for Human Rights and Research (CHR) which has been engaged in a continuous campaign, since the new Government came into power, to get those detained charged in the courts, to get those against whom charges cannot be filed released and to get the cases of those released on bail to be expedited in the courts instead having the trial hearings/proceedings being constantly postponed, has inquired into those who are presently detained under detention orders.
The report is in two parts. The first section will discuss the current situation with regards to the PTA while the second part will include information and details concerning those presently being detained in custody.  
Madiarasan Sulakshan (Age: 28), who was arrested on 2009 May 19 (Case Number: HC-V 2491/2013) is to this day being detained, for two and a half years now, until the Attorney General’s Department amends his charge sheet. The only evidence against him is an alleged confession made by him during the period of detention.
He is just one of many such individuals who have been affected by the PTA. They are deprived of a right to legal counsel, bail and charged based on their own confession.

The case against many of the detainees, about whom detailed information is presented in this report, is no different from the aforementioned tale of facts.  

The PTA allows the Government to detain individuals suspected of terrorism for prolonged periods of time and also admits the confessions of such alleged terrorists; both acts which are contrary to the Code of Criminal Procedure. The repeal of the PTA and the replacement of it with national security legislation that is in keeping with international best practices was a promise made by the yahapalanaya (good governance) Government that was provided with a mandate at the Presidential Election in 2015 January and at the Parliamentary/General Election in August 2015.

High profile members in both the 100 days programme Government and the post-2015 August joint Government including the Executive President, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister on various platforms including at the UN Headquarters in New York and at the UNHRC sessions in Geneva (including in the content of the resolution concerning Sri Lanka which was co-sponsored by the Government of Sri Lanka), pledged to do away with this draconian piece of legislation that was used as a tool of oppression and terror. The incumbent Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in a statement made at the beginning of the year in Jaffna affirmed the fact that the PTA being an archaic piece of legislation will be repealed and legislation more in line with the anti-terrorism laws in the United Kingdom would be introduced into the Sri Lankan legal arena.  Meanwhile the Minister of Foreign Affairs echoed the Premier’s statement where, in March at Geneva, he reiterated the fact that the PTA will be repealed and new counter-terrorism legislation will be introduced instead, in keeping with current international practices.

Despite the statements made by those in the Government, the PTA to-date remains very much in force with mere drafts being put forward by the Law Commission of Sri Lanka on its amendments/reform and repeal. Sri Lanka is yet to see and debate on a solid anti-terrorism bill.

Since the incumbent Government came into power the number of ‘political prisoners’; a term which in itself has been the totem of many an acrimonious debate, which was in excess of 270, dwindled to a figure of 118. Some detainees were granted bail and given an opportunity to a trial and access to due process, yet, still others are languishing in various prisons and detention centres and are denied the due process of law. On the other hand, the issue of political prisoners has been a mere slogan for mostly opportunistic Tamil political parties like the Tamil National Alliance and the few non-governmental organizations, non-State actors and civil society organizations who have sought to advance their causes in certain cases while genuinely intervening in others.

As discussed earlier the PTA is controversial for mainly two reasons. First being the arrest and subsequent detention of alleged perpetrators of terrorism and second, the acceptance of confessions (most likely obtained through torture) as evidence of the crime.

Section 7 of the PTA provides:

‘Any person arrested under subsection(1) of section 6 may be kept in custody for a period not exceeding seventy-two hours and shall, unless a detention order under section 9 has been made in respect of such person, be produced before a Magistrate before the expiry of such period and the Magistrate shall, on an application made in writing in that behalf by a police officer not below the rank of Superintendent, make order that such person be remanded until the conclusion of the trial of such person: Provided that, where the Attorney-General consents to the release of such person before custody before the conclusion of the trial, the Magistrate shall release such person from custody.’

In terms of Section 6 and 7 of the PTA it is interesting to note that the arrest can take place in the absence of a warrant and the individual detained for up to 72 hours until such time he is produced before a Magistrate. This is a new procedure of law veering away from the criminal procedure whereby the detainee should be produced before a Magistrate by 48 hours and should also be arrested upon a warrant being issued for his arrest.

Section 9 of the PTA provides that:

‘Where the Minister has reason to believe or suspect that any person is connected with or concerned in any unlawful activity, the Minister may order that such person be detained for a period not exceeding three months in the first instance, in such place and subject to such conditions as may be determined by the Minister, and any such order may be extended from time to time for a period not exceeding three months at a time: Provided, however, that the aggregate period of such detention shall not exceed a period of eighteen months.’

Accordingly persons detained by the order of the Minister can be so held in such place and under such conditions as may be determined by the Minister. Given the controversial manner in which arrests take place the subsequent conditions of detention should be regulated by law and set out clearly rather than being under the control of an individual who can and in most cases will exercise it as s/he thinks fit if not according to his/her whims and fancies.

Furthermore, although the Evidence Ordinance provides that confessions made by perpetrators in the presence of Police officers or while in custody cannot be admissible, under the PTA however this privilege is not given to those apprehended. The only paltry consolation is that such confession should be made in the presence of an officer not below the rank of an Assistant Superintendent of Police.

Confessions are obtained from suspected terrorists by way of torture, inhumane and derogatory treatment. Incidents at the Abu Ghraib Prison is no far cry from what takes place within our Island.

Article 5 of the UDHR states that, ‘No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.’ Moreover the UN Convention against Torture (CAT) in Article 2 reiterates the fact that each State party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction and no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

Although Sri Lanka is no party to the UDHR, it is a party to the UNCAT. However the latter, unfortunately has no force in domestic jurisdiction due to it not being enacted in the land.

Late Supreme Court Judge, Justice Mark Fernando observed in Weerawansa v Attorney General (2000) 1 SLR 387 that, “When the PTA Bill was referred to this court, the court did not have to decide whether or not any of those provisions constituted reasonable restrictions on Articles 12 (1), 13 (1) and 13 (2) permitted by Article 15 (7) (in the interests of national security etc.), because the court was informed that it had been decided to pass the Bill with two-thirds majority (SC SD No. 7/79, 17.7.79). The PTA was enacted with two-thirds majority, and accordingly, in terms of Article 84, PTA became law despite many inconsistencies with the constitutional provisions.”

In countering terrorism one must keep in mind that it is a warfare between curbing the agendas of terrorists and terrorist organizations while recognizing and affording them their inalienable rights in the event they are convicted of the said offence. The difficulty of legislators lies in balancing these two pillars while respecting the rule of law. This report is a compilation of the cases of those arrested under the PTA and are awaiting trial or are in some stage of their case being heard before a court of law. We believe that whatever their faults may be morally or under the law of the land, they should not be deprived of their basic rights in the due process. This report purports to present these individuals and their cases not as unblemished saints but as Sri Lankans to whom the Government owes a duty of restorative justice.

Conclusion

While commending the steps/measures taken by the Government to enact new legislation, the CHR calls on all civil society organizations to apply pressure on the Government to file cases in court against those in detention who have charges against them, to provide them with an opportunity for a fair and just trial, to release those in detention who do not have charges against them, to grant bail to those who have been in detention for long and to file legal action in courts against them.

 

 

 

 

Annex 1

Details of the PTA detainees

Summary


1

Name : Madiarasan Sulakshan
Date of Birth :
Age : 28
Residing Address : Karaveddi, Jaffna
Civil Status : Single
Family Details : His father had passed away in 2015. His mother is ailing. He has three younger sisters. The family is in dire circumstances.  
Date of Arrest : 2009 May 19
Case Number : HC-V 2491/2013
Charge :  
Status of the Case : The charge sheet has been sent to the Attorney General’s Department for amendment.

Background : On 2009 May 19, he had surrendered to the Omanthai Army checkpoint. He had been rehabilitated for 13 months at the rehabilitation camp at the Omanthai Maha Vidyalaya. Subsequently, he had been handed over to the Terrorism Investigation Division. Based solely on a confession, in 2013, a case had been filed against him. Three months following the filing of the case, as per the request of the State Counsel/State’s legal representative, the charge sheet had been sent to the Attorney General’s Department for revision. Two and a half years later, the amended charge sheet had still not been sent back by the Attorney General’s Department, thereby causing him and the other suspect in this case, Dharshan Ganeshan/Ganeshan Dharshan to engage in a fast. The Attorney General’s Department promised that the charge sheet would be presented soon.
 
       

2
Name : Ganeshan Dharshan
Date of Birth :
Age : 26
Residing Address : Nawalapitiya
Civil Status : Single
Family Details : He is a member of a family living in dire poverty.
Profession :
Date of Arrest : 2009 May 20 and 2010 July 19
Case Number : HC-V 2491/2013

Charge :  
Status of the Case : The charge sheet has been sent to the Attorney General’s Department for amendment.

Background : On 2009 May 20, he had surrendered to the Omanthai Army checkpoint. He had been rehabilitated for nearly a year at the rehabilitation camp at the Omanthai Maha Vidyalaya. He had then gone to his house/home in Nawalapitiya. He had obtained employment at the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation. It was when he was working at the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation that he had been arrested again by the Terrorism Investigation Division on 2010 July 19. The case filed against him is based on a confession. Three months following the filing of the case, as per the request of the State Counsel/State’s legal representative, the charge sheet had been sent to the Attorney General’s Department for revision. Two and a half years later, the amended charge sheet had still not been sent back by the Attorney General’s Department, thereby causing him and the other suspect in this case, Madiarasan Sulakshan to engage in a fast. The Attorney General’s Department promised that the charge sheet would be presented soon.         
 

3
Name : Perumal Chandramohan
Date of Birth :
Age : 35
Residing Address : Thalawakele
Civil Status : Single
Family Details : Both his parents are elderly. His mother is ailing. The household has no source of income. There is no money to be spent on the Court case.
Profession :  
Date of Arrest : 2010 October 12
Case Number : HC-NE 51/2014

Charges : Conducting and maintaining relations with suspect Kalimuththu Sudaharan, and transporting goods including explosives
Status of the Case :

Background : On 2010 October 12, he was arrested in Kandy by the Terrorism Investigation Division. He is detained in remand custody until 2011 August 08. He is presented before the Nuwara Eliya Magistrate on 2014 September. Five cases had been filed against him in the Magistrate’s Court. He had been released from four of the said cases and a case had been filed in the High Court.

 

4
Name : Sundaralingam Kedeeshwaran
Date of Birth :
Age : About 25. He does not know for certain.
Residing Address : Batticaloa
Civil Status :
Family details : Both his mother and father are deceased. It is said that he was living with a sister and an aunt.
Profession :
Date of Arrest : 2009 March 18
Case Numbers : B/48/2009 and BR/323/2008 at the Siyambalanduwa Magistrate’s Court, HC 11/2013 and HC 10/2013 at the Moneragala High Court, and HC 09/2013 at the Hambantota High Court
 
Charges :
Status of the Cases : BR/323/2008 at the Siyambalanduwa Magistrate’s Court has been postponed/put forward indefinitely.

 


5
Name : Sellaiyar Sadiskumar
Date of Birth : 1978 February 21
Age : 38
Residing Address : Kilinochchi
Civil Status : Married
Family Details : He has an eleven-years-old daughter.
Profession : Ambulance driver at the Kilinochchi Hospital  
Date of Arrest : 2008 January 28
Case Number : HC V/2037/2009

Charge : Transportation of explosives  
Status of the Case : Convicted and sentenced to lifetime imprisonment. An appeal had been filed against the case under CA/94/2011. It has now been five years since the said appeal had been filed.

Background : He is arrested on 2008 January 28 at the Thekkawatte Police checkpoint in Vavuniya for allegedly hiding explosives in the jack of the vehicle he was driving. Normally, he would drive the Hospital’s ambulance. The decision to send him in a lorry to Colombo on this day to obtain and bring back medicines urgently needed/required by the Hospital for an emergency was taken by the Hospital. On 2011 May 11, he is sentenced to lifetime imprisonment on the basis that the driver of the vehicle should be held responsible and accountable for the goods in the vehicle s/he drives/drove. The drive he took was a special task relegated to him on that particular day and was not part of his general daily duties. The lorry belonged to the Ministry of Health. The inventory of the lorry is under someone else’s name. As he states, the officers at the Omanthai Police checkpoint had work related issues with him and that therefore the said Police officers were not in good terms with him. He says that the Police had used another person and had obtained a bribe of Rs 75,000 from his family members.  
 

 


6
Name : Kandawenam Gogulnath
Date of Birth : 1983 September 03
Age : 32
Residing Address : Nelliadi, Jaffna
Civil Status : Single
Family Details :  
Profession : Business based in Colombo
Date of Arrest : 2009 May 12
Case Number : HC 5875/2011

Charge : Attempting to assassinate the President  
Status of the Case :

Background : On 2009 May 12, he had been abducted by a group of unknown persons from near a foreign employment agency in the Kudapaduwa area in Negombo. He had been detained at an unknown location till 2009 November 26, on which date, he had been handed over to the Terrorism Investigation Division. He had been handed over to the Terrorism Investigation Division near a bridge in Colombo. On 2010 April 20, he had been placed in remand custody.
 

 


7
Name : Subramaniam Surendrarajah
Date of Birth : 1980 September 03
Age : 35
Residing Address : Matale
Civil Status : Married
Family Details : He has an eleven-years-old daughter. Without him, who earned an income as a three-wheeler driver, his family has fallen on hard times. Due to the mental shock following there being no information available about him after his abduction, his wife has been suffering from a mental disease. Presently, his mother is earning a living by working for hire.  
Profession : Driver  
Date of Arrest : 2009 August 26
Case Numbers : B 8740/2007, and for B 1030/2006 a case has been filed in a High Court under HC 6078/2012

Charges : B 8740/2007 involved former Minister Douglas Devananda being attacked with a bomb and B 1030/2006 involves exploding a bomb/a bomb blast in front of the High Commission of Pakistan in Sri Lanka  
Status of the Cases : B 8740/2007 – Released, and for B 1030/2006, the case HC 6078/2012 has yet to be taken up  

Background : On 2009 August 26, about 20 persons, dressed in civil clothing, had abducted him. He had been told that he would be handed over to the Matale Police. Until he had been handed over to the coastal Police on 2009 September 15, he had been detained at an unknown location and been severely assaulted. When the family members had not received any information from the Police, they had sold the house/home in Matale, obtained the money and started walking in search of him. His family members got some news about him only through a message he had sent through someone who was at the coastal Police after he had been taken there. On 2010 February 02, a signature had been obtained for a confession at the Ambalangoda Police and he had been brought to Colombo and remanded. He is made a suspect to the bombing in front of the High Commission of Pakistan in Sri Lanka, following a hire he had taken in his three-wheeler. He was at the time residing in Colombo.  

 

 

8
Name : Kadirawelan Kapilan
Date of Birth : 1990 June 09
Age : 25
Residing Address : Akkareipaththu
Civil Status : Single
Family Details : His mother survives by working for hire in the paddy fields in the village. They are living under dire circumstances. They have no understanding of the cases before the Courts. They have no money to spend on the cases.    
Profession :
Date of Arrest : 2009 May 20
Case Numbers : HC 3/2013, HC 4/2013, and HC 5/2013, all three cases at the Moneragala High Court, and HC 10/2013, HC 11/2013, HC 12/2013, HC 13/2013, HC 23/2013, HC 24/2013, HC 25/2013, all seven cases at the Hambantota High Court

Charges :
Status of the Cases : Previously, cases had been filed before the Wellawaya Magistrate’s Court, the Moneragala Magistrate’s Court and the Siyambalanduwa Magistrate’s Court. While he has been released from some of these cases, remaining cases have been filed before High Courts. He has been released from HC 3/2013, HC 4/2013, and HC 5/2013, all three cases at the Moneragala High Court, after the confession made on 2015 May 18 had been rejected. HC 10/2013, HC 11/2013, HC 12/2013, HC 13/2013, HC 23/2013, HC 24/2013, HC 25/2013, all seven cases at the Hambantota High Court, are all presently being continued on the basis of the aforementioned/abovementioned confession.  

Background : He was a former Member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who had surrendered to the Red Cross Society in Akkareipaththu on 2009 May 20. The Red Cross Society had handed him over to the Akkareipaththu Police. He had been detained at the Akkareipaththu Police for three months. He had then been handed over to the Terrorism Investigation Division. He had been produced before the Aluthkade/Hulftsdorp Magistrate’s Court on 2011 February 15 and remanded.   
 

 

9
Name : Lakshman Cooray
Date of Birth : 1976 May 28
Age : 40
Residing Address : Kottawa
Civil Status : Married
Family Details :
Profession : Superintendent of Police
Date of Arrest : 2009 August 12
Case Numbers : HC 5526/2011 at the Colombo High Court and HC 63/2014 at the Gampaha High Court

Charge ; In relation to the murder of former Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle
Status of the Cases : HC 5526/2011 – Released, and HC 63/2014 – is scheduled to be taken up for hearing

Background : He says that he was arrested because Lafeer’s (a phone seller, arrested on suspicion of involvement in the killing of Jeyaraj Fernandopulle) phone number was found in his phone. For both these cases, for a period of nearly five years, instead of being remanded, he had been produced after being kept in the custody of the Terrorism Investigation Division in Bussa. He put forward an appeal against this. The Court after accepting that he had been and was being unlawfully detained during the course of the trial hearing, ordered him to be placed in remand custody. Both these cases were maintained based on a confession obtained after the administration of severe torture, cruel and inhuman treatment. The Attorney General’s Department has come forward to withdraw the case before the Colombo High Court at a time when the hearing of the case evidence had been concluded and was at a level where the confession was most probably going to be rejected. His lawyer had objected to this and in the next hearing of the case in Court, he had been released from the case. If in this case, the confession was rejected, the case before the Gampaha High Court too could have been similarly dismissed. He states that there is the suspicion that the reason why the Attorney General’s Department came forward to withdraw the case was to prepare the confession document again and to present it to the case before the Gampaha High Court. A fundamental rights petition has been lodged under 664/2010 against the inflicting of torture, cruel and inhuman treatment. This has yet to be taken up for hearing.         

 


10
Name : Selvachandran Chandrabose
Date of Birth : 1978 May 28
Age : 37
Residing Address : Chilaw
Civil Status : Single
Family Details : Since around 1993, he had been a very poor youth staying at his aunt‘s house/home in Chilaw, living by working for hire. During the 1998 – 2001 period, he had received treatment at the National Cancer Institute in Maharagama for a cancer in the region of the lungs.     
Profession : Labourer
Date of Arrest : 2006 November 27
Case Numbers : HC 2044/2009 at the Vavuniya High Court and HC 7080/2013 at the Colombo High Court

Charges : Receiving training from the intelligence, providing information, and HC 7080/2013 concerning allegations pertaining to involvement in the bomb attack on former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Piththala junction
Status of the Cases : HC 2044/2009 – Released, and HC 7080/2013 has yet to be taken up for hearing

Background : On the first charge of receiving training from the intelligence, he was arrested by the Kantale Police and handed over to the Terrorism Investigation Division. A case was filed against him for this using a document containing a confession along with his signature obtained after having beaten him. The Vavuniya High Court releases him from this case as the confession is rejected. Yet he is detained with regards to investigations into the charge of alleged involvement in the bomb attack on Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Piththala junction. The said bomb attack takes place on 2006 December 01 and during this time period he is under arrest.  
Note

 


11
Name : Velayudan Waradarajah
Date of Birth : 1975 January 23
Age : 41
Residing Address : Nelliadi, Jaffna
Civil Status :
Family Details : Both his mother and father are deceased. He has two sisters and a brother.
Profession :
Date of Arrest : 2000 January 14
Case Number : HC 891/2002

Charge : In relation to launching a suicide bomb attack on former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumarathunga
Status of the Case : Regarding HC 891/2002, on 2015 September 30, the Court after accepting that the confession was made voluntarily handed down a sentence of 290 years, to be completed in one go in 30 years.  

Background : The Army arrests him in Vavuniya on the suspicion that he is a Member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. In the approximate period of two months during which he was in the custody of the Army or the Terrorism Investigation Division, he had not even been questioned with regards to the bomb attack on Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumarathunga. He was then taken into the custody of the Criminal Investigation Department and after two months there a brief inquiry is made from him once regarding the said matter. He comes to learn of the said charge being leveled against him only after the filing of the case in the High Court. The case is maintained and continued on the basis of a document containing a confession and his signature obtained after he was severely beaten. He has never before seen the other three accused parties in the case and neither does he identify them. On the day that Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumarathunga faces the bomb attack, he was in the Vanni area. It was only a week after the bomb attack that he came to Vavuniya. This visit to Vavuniya is the first time in his life that he had come to Vavuniya and until after his arrest he had never before travelled to anywhere in the country below Vavuniya. The security forces had not notified his home about his arrest. Five months afterwards, he was shown to the Red Cross Society. It is the Red Cross Society that notified his household. His father passed away on the same day from a heart attack.

Note : He is arrested when he is 25. He has spent over 15 years in prison. He has to spend 30 more years in prison serving a prison term of 290 years on a suspended basis. He is suffering from depression due to the fact that he has completely been robbed of his years of youth.

 


12

Name : Shakthiwel Illangeshwaran
Date of Birth :
Age :
Residing Address :
Civil Status :
Family Details :
Profession :
Date of Arrest :
Case Number : HC 891/2002

Charge : In relation to launching a suicide bomb attack on former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumarathunga
Status of the Case : He is an accused in the case involving a suicide bomb attack on Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumarathunga. Because of the lengthy period of time he had already spent in prison, in 2010, in relation to the said case, he had admitted guilt and is presently serving a suspended 290 year sentence to be served in 30 years.    

 


13

Name : Ragupathi Sharma
Date of Birth :
Age : About 60
Residing Address :
Civil Status :
Family Details :
Profession : A pusari/aiyyar/member of the clergy at a kovil
Date of Arrest :
Case Number : HC 891/2002

Charge : In relation to launching a suicide bomb attack on former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumarathunga
Status of the Case : The charge sheet has been sent to the Attorney General’s Department for amendment

Background : He is an accused in the case involving a suicide bomb attack on Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumarathunga. On 2015 September 30, he was handed a 290 year suspended sentence to be served in 30 years. He is not and has not been a Member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

 


14

Name : Ajith Nishantha Edirisinghe
Date of Birth :
Age : 45
Residing Address : Mirijjawila, Hambantota
Civil Status : Married
Family Details : He has one daughter and three sons
Profession : Fishing
Date of Arrest : 2009 August 07
Case Number : 3736/2012 at the Galle High Court

Charge : Providing lodging/accommodation to a person who provided information for the attack on the Galle harbour/port
Status of the Case : The case has been taken up for hearing and for four years the case had been tried on the basis of evidence given by a single person.

Background : There had been a young boy named Yogaraja Mohan working at his father-in-law, Gunaratne Gajaweera’s house/home in Akkareipaththu from 1999 till the latter half of 2001. The youth arrived at his house/home in Hambantota during the latter half of 2001 in order to do some repair work on a lorry. The youth leaves the said house/home in 2002 and he and his family knows of no information regarding the said youth since. It was only once he was arrested by the Terrorism Investigation Division that he and his family came to know that the youth had been a Member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. He is subsequently detained for 20 months at Bussa and on 2011 April 13, he, his father-in-law and mother-in-law are produced before the Aluthkade/Hulftsdorp Court and placed in remand prison. On the same day, the youth to whom they gave lodging/accommodation to and who is said to have provided information for the attack on the Galle harbour/port is released by the Court. He, his father-in-law and mother-in-law are even at present under arrest and in custody while the youth they gave lodging to is on release albeit for an incident they know nothing about. It is said that an officer of the Terrorism Investigation Division had asked for a ransom of Rs 500,000 from his brother in order to release him, his father-in-law and mother-in-law. When the ransom was refused, the said officer is said to have threatened him, saying that “By the time he got out, he would only be able to do so with the aid of a walking stick.”   

 


15

Name : Gunaratne Gajaweera
Date of Birth :
Age : 69
Residing Address : Akkareipaththu
Civil Status : Married
Family Details : He has six children. He is suspect, Ajith Nishantha Edirisinghe’s father-in-law.
Profession :
Date of Arrest : 2009 August 07
Case Number : 3736/2012 at the Galle High Court  

Charge : Providing lodging/accommodation to a person who provided information for the attack on the Galle harbour/port
Status of the Case : The case has been taken up for hearing and for four years the case had been tried on the basis of evidence given by a single person.

 


16

Name : Wairamuththu Saroja
Date of Birth :
Age : 64
Residing Address : Akkareipaththu
Civil Status : Married
Family Details : She has six children. She is suspect, Ajith Nishantha Edirisinghe’s mother-in-law.
Profession :
Date of Arrest : 2009 August 07
Case Number : 3736/2012 at the Galle High Court

Charge : Providing lodging/accommodation to a person who provided information for the attack on the Galle harbour/port
Status of the Case : The case has been taken up for hearing and for four years the case had been tried on the basis of evidence given by a single person.

 

17

Name : Bandula Gajaweera
Date of Birth :
Age : 43
Residing Address : Akkareipaththu
Civil Status : Married
Family Details : He has three children. Because three male members of this family have been imprisoned for a long time, financial issues have arisen in the family.  
Profession : Driver
Date of Arrest : 2011 September 12
Case Number : 3736/2012 at the Galle High Court

Charge : Providing lodging/accommodation to a person who provided information for the attack on the Galle harbour/port
Status of the Case : The case has been taken up for hearing and for four years the case had been tried on the basis of evidence given by a single person.

Background : He is suspect, Ajith Nishantha Edirisinghe’s brother-in-law. He is the eldest son of Gunaratne Gajaweera and Wairamuththu Saroja. He is arrested at the Airport on the day he returned to the country after working as a driver in Iraq. By this time Yogaraja Mohan, the reason behind all this and to whom they had given lodging to, had been released by Court for about five months.   

Note : It can be seen that in releasing the youth behind the incident and filing suit against those who gave the youth lodging, the Attorney General’s Department seems to be acting in an irresponsible manner. These four do not recognize the other accused, Kandaiah Ilango. Kandaiah Ilango has lost a leg and is disabled. Kandaiah Ilango has 22 charges leveled against him while two out of the said 22 have been leveled against Ajith Nishantha Edirisinghe and members of his family. For four years now it has been Kandaiah Ilango’s evidence that is being heard. Will it therefore take 16 years more to hear the evidence of the other four? His parents who are 69-years-old and 64-years-old are facing enormous hardships in serving prison life for a long term.  

   

18
Name : Muttiah Sahadevan
Date of Birth :
Age : 58
Residing Address : Kirulapone, Polhengoda
Civil Status : Married
Family Details : His wife is 57-years-old. Both his children are married. He is 58-years-old and his eyesight has weakened. Diabetes has been the reason for this. He has had an operation performed on one eye. He is supposed to have an operation on his other eye. His wife is working for hire to earn a living. Therefore, they have no money to spend on the case.  
Profession : Daily hired labourer in houses/homes  
Date of Arrest : 2005 August 13
Case Number :

Charge : Conspiring to assassinate former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lakshman Kadirgamar and aiding and abetting such
Status of the Cases : He has been under arrest for a period of 10 years. The case is still being heard.

Background : He had for some time done work at a house/home down Bullers Road in Colombo and had also done various jobs in neighbouring houses/homes. He had also worked in the house/home of someone named Thalesingham and he had started cutting off the branches of a pihimbiya tree/fern leaf tree which grew in the direction of the balcony of the said house/home. He had been doing this pruning once in every one and a half months. He had been arrested because it is stated that Lakshman Kadirgamar had been shot at from this balcony. The last time he had cut off the branches had been one month prior to the murder of Lakshman Kadirgamar. This had been on the request of the owner of the said house/home.

 

 
19
Name : Shanmugalingam Sooriyakumar
Date of Birth :
Age : 38
Residing Address : Rambukkana
Civil Status : Married
Family Details : He has a 12-years-old daughter. Since the ordeal, his wife has left him. There is no one to look after his elderly parents.  
Profession : Lorry Driver  
Date of Arrest : 2006 July 03
Case Number : 2982/2010 at the Kegalle High Court

Charges : Bringing the female bomber who came to assassinate Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka, providing her with lodging/accommodation, finding her a house on/for rent, and not divulging information
Status of the Cases : Convicted and sentenced to 35 years imprisonment.  

Background : During the ceasefire period of 2002 – 2004, he had transported goods to Jaffna in a lorry. During these journeys back and forth, he had befriended a document inspector at a checkpoint of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Through this, he had been able to easily obtain permission to enter through the checkpoint. Sometime later, the document inspector had asked him to help the document inspector to travel to Colombo in order prepare the documents needed/required for one of the document inspector’s related sisters to go to Canada. He had then brought her to his house/home in Rambukkana. From time to time, she had travelled back and forth, stating that she was getting the relevant documents prepared and in the interim period, she had become one of his family’s friends. One day she had left stating that she was going to her house/home in Jaffna and had never returned again. He queries that ‘If he had known that she was a suicide bomber, would he have provided such a person lodging in his house/home where his child lives?’. Two and a half months afterwards, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department had come and arrested his mother, wife and child on 2006 July 02. On the following day, he had surrendered himself to the Criminal Investigation Department. His mother, wife and child had been continuously detained. While this was going on, he had been severely beaten and his signature had been obtained on a document of confession. Apart from this, even though he could neither read nor write properly, he had in order to get his mother, wife and child released, signed the papers. Once the case had been taken up for hearing, the matter had been treated as an urgent matter of the Court and the hearing had been concluded within one and a half months and the sentence had been delivered. This was all done based on the confession alleged to have been obtained from him. He also does not receive correct legal advice. Because the sentences were ordered to be served separately, he has to serve time for 35 years. Although appeals have been filed, he does not have money to spend on them.    

 

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