Trinco Tamil detainees' plea rejected

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 09 January 2002, 21:05 GMT]
The Trincomalee Magistrate Wednesday turned down a plea made on behalf of 22 Tamil youths who have been detained at various detention centres in the country under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) that they should be kept in the Trincomalee prison for a few days, so that their parents and relatives could visit them on 'Pongal' day celebrations, which falls on January 14.

22 Trincomalee Tamil youths now being detained under the PTA at Boosa detention camp in the Southern province, Kalutara prison in the Western province and Anuradhapura prison in North-Central province were brought down to Trincomalee Wednesday morning in a prison department bus, under heavy security, to be produced in court for hearings on several cases filed against them under the PTA. All were produced before the Trincomalee Magistrate later in the evening.

When the cases against them were taken up, Attorney K.S.Ratnavelu with Attorney K.Sivapalan made an application to court to allow them to be detained at Trincomalee prison, enabling their parents and relatives visit them during Pongal day celebration. The defense attorneys said the suspects are kept in prisons several miles away from their birthplace, Trincomalee.

Mr.Ratnavelu further argued that under Section 7 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, the court has the power to order the prison authorities to detain the suspects in a particular prison.

However, the Magistrate, Mr.S.Thiagendran, said that he could only commit the prisoners to the jailer of Trincomalee prison. "It is the responsibility of the jailer to decide whether he could keep those prisoners in Trincomalee or elsewhere depending on the security of the area."

Of the 22 Tamil youths, four made statements in the open court that they were subjected to severe torture after arrest by the security forces. The Magistrate then ordered that the said suspects should be medically examined by the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer and reports submitted.

The suspects were then transported to Anuradhapura, Kalutara and Boosa the same day.


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