Judge rejects skewed reports on torture victims

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 15 January 2002, 20:03 GMT]
The Trincomalee Magistrate Tuesday ordered that two Tamil youths, allegedly tortured in detention by the Sri Lankan security forces, should be examined by the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer, when it transpired during the proceedings that the District Medical Officers who had examined the young men had stated in their reports that there were no fresh wounds on the two suspects who have been arrested and detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA)

The Magistrate Mr. S. Thiagendran made the order after recording the statements sof K. Sutharsan of Alankerni and Anputhasan Theepan of Thaha Nagar in the Trincomalee district that they were subjected to severe torture and assault in detention.

The two youth are being held in the Kalutara prison, south of Colombo. They were brought to the Trincomalee courts Tuesday.

Anputhasan Theepan said he was severely assaulted and tortured by the security forces. The Police had tied his genitals with a nylon rope and dragged him around with it during interrogation. The police took him to hospital but he was not produced before the District Medical Officer. Instead the police officer who accompanied him went to the room of the DMO and came out stating that the DMO had given the medical report.

In both cases, the District Medical Officers have stated in their medical reports that no fresh injuries were found on the suspects.

The Magistrate remarked that the DMOs were not specialized to examine and find old torture wounds. Therefore he said Judicial Medical Officer in Colombo should examine the two youths and submit medical reports.

Further inquiry into these cases were put off for February 15. Attorney K. Sivapalan appeared for the suspects.

Meanwhile, Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) with the funding of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Tuesday established a legal aid centre in Trincomalee District Court complex to provide legal assistance to the internally displaced people ( IDPs) who face human rights and fundamental rights violations.

"The article 12 of Sri Lanka's constitution which guarantees fundamental rights of citizens would become meaningless if the poor people are shut out of the legal process in obtaining relief when violations take place", said Mr. J. Visvanathan, East High Court Judge following the ceremonial opening of the Legal Aid Centre.

Trincomalee District Judge Mr. Anton Balasingham and Trincomalee Magistrate Mr. S. Thiagendran associated with the High Court Judge.

The Chairman of the Legal Aid Fund of the BASL Mr. S.S. Wijeratne said,"government sources estimate abouteight hundred thousand people in the country are internally displaced due to the present conflict. Most of the IDPs live in welfare centres, some are staying with relatives and friends. As IDPs their human dignity is at stake. Their human rights are violated often in welfare centres and elsewhere. The IDPs are also citizens of our country. Their human dignity and rights should be safeguarded. Hence the establishment of legal aid centres in Mannar, Vavuniya, Batticaloa and now in Trincomalee."

UNHCR's Associate Protection Officer Ms Marie-Noel Little also spoke.

Attorney Mr. Kasinather Sivapalan was appointed Co-ordinator of the Trincomalee Legal Aid Centre.


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