AG urged to file appeal against Mylanthanai acquittal

[TamilNet, Saturday, 14 December 2002, 13:05 GMT]
A delegation of leading human rights lawyers led by President Counsel Mr.Desmond Fernando requested the Attorney General (AG) to consider filing appeal against the acquittal order by the Colombo High Court in the Mylanthanai massacre case in which eighteen soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army were charged with murder, attempted murder of thirty five Tamils including men, women and fourteen children under twelve years, legal sources in Colombo said.

The Human Rights lawyers that met the AG, Mr.K.C.Kamalasabeyson, comprised in addition to Mr. Desmond Fernando, Chandrapala Kumarage, P.Sivaloganathan and K.S.Ratnavelu. The delegation submitted to the Attorney General that justice did not prevail in the verdict of the Sinhala speaking Jury that exonerated all the accused in the Mylanthanai massacre. The accused were all-Sinhalese. The evidence led in the High Court had concrete proof of accused soldiers guilt in the massacre, the delegation stressed.

Meanwhile, Batticaloa district Tamil National Alliance (TNA)parliamentarian Mr.Joseph Pararajasingham informed the Attorney General in writing that “the failure to file appeal against Mylanthanai acquittal would lead to adverse inferences being drawn against the AG’s department and also will justify the opening of courts by the LTTE in the northeast.”

The Colombo High Court last month acquitted all the eighteen accused in the Mylanthanai massacre case when the Sinhala speaking Jury brought a unanimous verdict of not guilty on all charges. The Jury brought the same verdict a second time when the High Court Judge directed them to reconsider their verdict as the prosecution had led sufficient evidence to prove the guilt of the accused.

This massacre took place ten years ago on 9th August 1992 as retaliation for the killing of Major General Hector Hobbekaduwa and seven other senior military officers in a landmine attack in Jaffna on 8th August 1992. A group army soldiers entered the village Mylanthanai from Punanai SLA camp and killed civilians by attacking them with weapons.

Husbands, wives, children and relatives of the Mylanthanai victims are still languishing in the refugee camp at Valaichchenai without any compensation or relief. Nearly thirty of them, men, women and children who were injured in the massacre and who identified the accused in the identification parade held at the early stage gave evidence in this case last month. They were brought to Colombo by the Centre of Human Rights and Development, which provided them with boarding and lodging facilities.


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