2ND LEAD (Corrections)
Sri Lanka Court admits as evidence confession taken under torture
[TamilNet, Sunday, 18 December 2011, 02:15 GMT]
Ruling on the 1999 case involving the attack on former President Chandrika Kumaratunge, Colombo high court admitted as valid evidence defendant's confession taken under alleged torture and issued a guilty verdict, legal sources in Colombo said. Velayutham Varatharajah, the main suspect in the case, told reporters that despite the presence of medical evidence that he was tortured during Police custody the High Court ruled the confession taken under duress as admissible evidence against him.
Varatharajah was allegedly tortured while under police custody during 1999 to 2001.
When Varadarajah was produced before the court in 2002, the judge ordered medical examinations, and the medical report contained overwhelming evidence of torture while he was under police custody, court records show.
"The judicial system in Sri Lanka violated Varadarajah's fundamental right to due process by keeping him in jail for nearly 12-years without any independence evidence of complicity in the crime, other than the confession taken under duress," legal sources close to the case said.
Legal sources further said that the Judges are pressured to issue a guilty verdict in politically charged cases such as his, and without any financial resources, he has no access to competent lawyers, other than those paid by the Human Rights organizations, to defend him,
Political sources in Colombo also said that many similar tamil youths are languishing in jails with substandard food and amenities, and with no accesses to legal representation.