Court orders compensation payout
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 04 April 2000, 06:44 GMT]
The Supreme Court has ordered the State to pay Rs.50,000 as compensation to Methodist Church Minister John Christopher Solomen of Kandy for unlawful detention by the police.
The Bench comprised Justice Mark Fernando Justice DPS Gunasekera and Justice Weerasekera.
The fundamental Rights application was supported by attorney at law A.Sumanthiran.
The order stated that on 16.04.98 the detainee went to the Kandy Police Station to lodge a complaint that he had lost his purse containing his identity card; he was told to come the next day, and later that day in his absence, some Police Officers came to the place where he was residing, making inquiries about him.
His purse and identity card were returned to his landlady. On 17.04.98 he went to the Kandy Police Station to say that his purse had been found and returned.
The petitioner had come to Colombo in September 1997 having applied to join the Methodist Church as a Minister. He was interviewed, and selected, and was sent to Kandy October 1997 for four months training.
The Kandy Police say that they had become aware of a practice of residents of the Northern and Eastern Provinces to lodge complaints alleging the loss of identity cards, with a view to obtaining fresh identity cards indicating Kandy as the place of residence. It was in these circumstances that the petitioner was arrested on suspicion of involvement in L.T.T.E activities.
Furthermore, the President of the Methodist Church Sri Lanka travelled to Kandy on 20.04.98 and made statements assuring the Police that the petitioner was not involved in any illegal activities and that he was the person responsible for the petitioner's stay in Kandy.
If the petitioner had actually admitted any illegal activity in his statement made on 29.04.1998, that should have been brought to the notice of the President of the Church and his observations obtained.
Although the second detention order authorised the detention of the petitioner at the Kandy Police Station, it is not disputed that he was actually detained elsewhere at Menikhinna, the Order concluded.