PTA detainee released - confessed under torture

[TamilNet, Thursday, 16 November 2000, 19:27 GMT]
The Vavuniya High Court acquitted Balasingham Illakanakanthan, who had been charged under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), on the basis that the confession of the accused was obtained under duress whilst in Sri Lanka Army custody. The accused had been in remand for about eighteen months.

Twenty-eight year-old Balasingham Illakanakanthan is a Tamil from Mulliyawallai in the Mullativu district. In making the acquittal order in the Vavuniya High Court, Judge Mr.N.Yogasigamany stated that the confession of the accused, submitted in the court by the prosecution, was obtained from him under duress while in Sri Lanka Army custody.

In this case the Attorney General had indicted the accused for obtaining arms training from the LTTE 's Mullaitivu Leader ŽAppachchiŪ by joining the Liberation Tigers on 15 December 1994. The accused was also charged with waging war against the State with the arms training obtained from the LTTE.

According to the prosecution, the accused was arrested on 15 May 1999 when he travelled to Vavuniya town from Mullaitivu. He was later detained at the Vavuniya army camp. He was charged in court on a confession purported to have been made by him accepting his guilt.

A medical report by Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) Dr.L.P.L.De.Alwis was submitted to the court. In that report the JMO stated that he found several scars of healed wounds on the body of the accused. He was of opinion that those scars and healed wounds were due to severe torture that had been inflicted on the accused when he was in the custody of the police.

The accused also gave evidence. He described in his evidence how the police tortured him when he was in their custody. He said still he was vomiting blood and suffering from frequent fainting.

At that stage the defence attorney Mr.Selvaretnam brought to the notice of the Judge that the accused had fainted inside the court cell while waiting for the hearing.

The Assistant Superintendent of Police D.M. Senenayake gave evidence on behalf of the prosecution.

Taking into consideration the medical report of Dr.Alwis, the High Court Judge delivered his order rejecting the confession of the accused. The Judge stated that the accused had not made the confession on his own, and stated that he was of opinion that the confession of the accused was obtained under duress.

Hence the High Court Judge made order acquitting the accused. The accused who was on remand for over 18 months was then released.

Mr.Sasi Mahendran, State Counsel appeared for the prosecution, while Mr.Selvaretnam appeared for the accused.

 

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