Protest over detainee's death
[TamilNet, Monday, 02 November 1998, 23:29 GMT]
The Forum for Human Dignity (FHD) issued a statement today protesting over the Colombo coroners verdict on the death of Rajaratnam Uthayakumar who died in the Sri Lankan Army's custody in Jafna on October 27.
Following is the full text of the statement:
"The Forum for Human Dignity (FHD) seeks to lodge its protest, in the strongest possible terms, over the second custodial death, that occurred on 27th October, 1998 and this in Jaffna, within the last few months.
The victim is a 42 year old familied man, Rajaratnam Udhayakumar by name.
He was arrested on mere suspicion by the Army at their check post in Nallur on 23rd October 1998 and detained until the time of his death. It has been the practice in Jaffna to deny relations and friends to meet the detainees until brought to the Anuradhapura courts.
The JMO in Jaffna is said to have refused to examine the body. It was therefore brought to Colombo and the post-mortem took place at the General hospital.
The JMO's report states it was suicide by hanging. We suspect foul-play and therefore refuse to accept the verdict as the minimum safeguard for the safety and security of detainees in Jaffna, even under the Emergency Regulation, is not being observed.
We demand that the entire procedure adopted be subjected to a high powered review to guarantee justice and prevention of recurrences.
We also demand that as the civil Administration in Jaffna has been "restored" the right to detain people be exclusively handled by the police."