5 Tamil fishermen held without charges
[TamilNet, Monday, 26 March 2007, 11:23 GMT]
Five Tamil fishermen, arrested on 21 March 2006 by Sri Lanka Navy for allegedly straying into the high security zone in Mannar sea, are still being detained in Colombo magazine prison under the Emergency Regulations (ER) without any charge, as relevant documents not reviewed by Attorney General's department for more than a year, legal sources said. The fishermen were produced defence before the Colombo Chief Magistrate last Friday.
The fishermen, M.Sriskandarajah, A.David, V.Manoharan, P.Subasena and P.Manoharan are from the eastern province.
They were taken into custody in Mannar Sea while fishing. Later they were handed over to the Terrorist Investigation Department (TID). The TID officials thereafter produced them in Colombo Chief Magistrate's Court under emergency law. Since then they are being detained in Colombo magazine prison, sources said.
Mr.K.V.Thavarajah, senior counsel for the defence brought to the notice of court that the fishermen are innocent, and have been suffering in detention for the last one year as the Attorney General's department has failed to frame charges against them or to recommend for their release.
The Chief Magistrate said the court has no jurisdiction to release them as they had been produced under emergency regulations. This is a matter for the AG department to decide whether to release them on bail or to discharge them from the case, legal sources said.
The defence counsel replied to court that the suspects had not yet filed fundamental rights petitions in the higher court challenging the arrest and detention.
The Chief Magistrate ordered further remand for them pending AG's report