"Police obtained confession under duress"
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 17 February 1999, 15:49 GMT]
The Eastern High Court Judge A.N.Ramachandran today acquitted a woman charged under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) after medical evidence revealed that she had made the confession under duress, while in police custody.
In this case, Maniam Wijeyaledchchumi,19,of Murakoddanchenai in the Batticaloa district was charged for failing to provide information about some cadres of the Liberation Tigers, to security forces.
She was arrested by the Sri Lankan Army in September,1997 at Murakoddanchenai sentry point.
When the case came up before the Eastern High Court today, the State Counsel moved for a date to record the evidence of a Senior Superintendent of Police who recorded the confession of the accused.
The defence counsel objected to the application stating that the said police officer had failed to attend the court on the previous five appointed dates.
The Court upheld the objection and directed to record the evidence of the District Medical Officer who examined the accused while in police custody.
Dr.S.Chandrapalan said in evidence that he examined the accused and found burn marks and healed wounds on the body of the accused when she was produced from police custody, before she made the confession submitted in court.
At that stage, the High Court Judge acquitted the accused stating that it had been proved that the accused had made the confession under duress, during the interrogation period.