Trinco arrests violate ceasefire agreement - TNA
[TamilNet, Thursday, 04 July 2002, 20:37 GMT]
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Thursday expressed its strong disapproval of a tendency on the part of some sections of the Armed Forces, to take in custody unarmed members of the Liberation Tigers, who are entitled to freedom of movement in the north and east under the provisions of 1.13 of the cease-fire agreement. "The arrests of five unarmed members of Liberation Tigers Wednesday in Trincomalee by the security forces are a violation of the said provision of the cease-fire agreement," said Mr. Mr.Sampanthan, parliamentary group leader of the TNA and the Trincomalee district parliamentarian in a statement issued Thursday.
The full text of the statement is given below:
"The Alliance of Tamil parties expresses its very strong disapproval of a tendency on the part of some sections of the Armed Forces, to take into custody unarmed L.T.T.E. members who are entitled to freedom of movement in the North and East, and who are not attempting to enter into specified military areas, as specified by the Sri Lanka Government; in terms of para 1:13 of the cease-fire Agreement.
"On Wednesday- 2nd July, 2002- a) three unarmed LTTE members by the names of Vimal, Isaikuvil and Alagan were taken into custody by navy personnel while they were proceeding by boat from Upparu to Muttur in Trincomalee. Travel by boat is frequently the only means of transport in these areas. All civilians use this means of transport. These three persons had a walkie-talkie, but did not carry any arms whatever. (b) Two unarmed LTTE members, Sabesan and Vangee were arrested by the army between Kanniya and Vilgam Vihare in Trincomalee, when they were not attempting to enter any specified military area. They too carried a walkie-talkie, but did not carry any arms whatever.
"These arrests are a violation of the freedom of movement in the north and east that unarmed LTTE members are entitled to under the provisions of 1:13 of the cease-fire agreement.
"Article 2:12 of the cease-fire agreement provides that search operations and arrests under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) shall not take place, and that arrests shall be conducted under due process of Law, in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code. The Supreme Court has held that there must be a reasonable basis related to some offence for the arrest of an individual, and that the arrest, would otherwise be illegal. There was no offence whatever of which the aforesaid LTTE members were even suspected, and their arrest was therefore clearly illegal, and they are entitled to be released.
"All persons engaged in the peace process, members of the Sri Lankan armed forces who sometime talk to the LTTE on the walkie-talkie, the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, the International Committee of Red Cross and most United Nation Agencies carry walkie talkie for the purposes of convenience of communication. The LTTE surely cannot be denied this facility, which is not in any way offensive.
"The Alliance of Tamil parties will make representations to the Prime Minister and seek that clear directions be issued to the Armed Forces, as such arrests are totally unwarranted and could have an adverse impact for the peace process.
"Indiscriminate arrests tend to create the impression that some sections of the armed forces wish to provoke the LTTE into retaliation and thereby disrupt the peace process.
"It is imperative that the Sri Lankan government gives clear directions to the armed forces in regard to such matters".