PTA prisoners suffer prolonged detention in east
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 26 December 2001, 10:16 GMT]
Forty-one Tamil political prisoners have been languishing in the Batticaloa prison for many years with no solution in sight under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), Mr. ‘Vellimalai’ Kirushnapillai, Tamil National Alliance MP for Batticaloa, told Tamilnet Wednesday. Their detention is unduly prolonged because the Batticaloa District Medical Officer is refusing to issue them medical legal certificates required by the courts to proceed with their cases, according to Mr. Vellimalai who visited the prisoners in the Batticaloa jail Tuesday.
Several prisoners told him that they have been detained for many years because Policemen who recorded their ‘confessions’ in detention were transferred out of Batticaloa and hence do not appear in court on the dates each case is taken up for hearing.
The only witnesses permitted in cases under PTA are the Police officer to whom the suspect made the confession, the Policeman who recorded it and the one who typed it. The only production allowed in a PTA case is the ‘confession’ of the accused.
Some of the detainees told Mr. Vellimalai that the Attorney General’s Department has not initiated any legal proceedings against them although they have been in prison for 3-5 years. Others said that they do not have any lawyers to argue their cases.
Mr. Vellimalai said that he would be formulating a comprehensive plan of action to deal with the plight of the Tamil political prisoners in Batticaloa.