Massacre Suspects Released on Bail

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 24 June 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Eighteen suspects in the Thampalagamam massacre in which eight civilians were killed on february 1, were granted bail by Trincomalee High Court judge A. N. Ramachandran on Monday partly because the State had not filed a plaint against them for the past three months.

In his order the Judge said he was using the Court's discretionary powers to grant bail after taking into consideration that 21 of the original 42 suspects had been granted bail already by the Trincomalee Magistrate Court and that the Attorney General had failed to file a plaint against the remaining suspects.

Each suspect was released on Rs 50,000 cash bail and Rs 25,000 surety bail and asked to report to the police station in the area of his residence every Sunday between 9:00 and 12:00 a.m.

The order also strictly prohibited the suspects, which comprise policemen and home-guards, from moving around in the Thambalakamam and Kanthalai areas or having any contacts with witnesses in the case.

On earlier occasions when this matter came up for trial in the High Court, lawyers appearing for the 22 suspects who had not been given bail by the Magistrate Court, submitted applications for bail.

However, applications for bail were rejected on objections made by the prosecuting state counsel that suspects in a murder case should not be released on bail because they could intimidate witnesses.

However the High Court accepted the bail application of one suspect last month on the grounds that he was mentally ill.

(Correction: It was reported in the TamilNet earlier that 15 civilians were massacred in the incident. However, it has been revealed that 8 civilians were killed in the incident.)


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