Supreme Court orders holds detention more than 90 days illegal

[TamilNet, Friday, 01 August 2008, 01:12 GMT]
Sri Lanka's Supreme Court, in a ruling on Fundamental Rights violation petition, held Wednesday that Sri Lanka Police violated the law by keeping an arrested person in custody for more than ninety days, and ordered the police to transfer the suspect immediately to remand prison. Three member bench of the Supreme Court made the order at the conclusion of the preliminary inquiry in the FR violation filed by Counsel Gowrisankari Thavarajah on behalf of Thiyagarajah Mohanaruban, a resident of Wellawatte, legal sources said.

The petitioner-suspect, Thiyagarajah Mohanaruban, was arrested by the Terrorist Intelligence Division (TID) on 14.09.2007, and wass being detained in the TID branch in Colombo.

The Officer-in-Charge of TID did not allow the suspect to sign an affidavit to file a FR violation petition through Counsel Gowrisankari Thavarajah despite the approval by the TID Superintendent. Hence the FR petition was filed by the Counsel Gowrisankari Thavarajah on behalf of the suspect, the court was told.

The petitioner has cited OIC, TID unit, Prasanna de Alwis as the first respondent. TID Superintendent, Inspector General of Police and Attorney General have been cited as other respondents in the petition, legal sources said.

The petition was taken up for inquiry before a three-member bench comprised Justices Shiranee Bandaranaike (Chairman), Raja Fernando, and Salim Marsook.

President Counsel Mr.Faiz Mustapha with Counsel Gowrisankari Thavarajah submitted to court that his client had been kept in the custody of TID unit for more than eleven months against Sections 19 (1), 21 (2) and 21 (3) of the Emergency Regulation which stipulate that it is unlawful to keep a suspect in the custody of TID Unit more than 90 days.

The court held the submission by the Defense Counsel and directed the police to transfer the suspect immediately to prison. The court further announced that it has decided to take up the FR violation petition for proper inquiry under Sections 12 (1), 13 (1) and 13 (2) of the Constitution, legal sources said.

The court further instructed the Registrar to issue notices on the respondents to appear in court on November 6, and to submit their objections to the FR petition within a month from that date.

State Counsel Ms P.Munasinghe appeared for the Attorney General, legal sources said.


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