LTTE members further remanded in Batticaloa

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 15 July 2003, 18:13 GMT]
Batticaloa magistrate, Mr. Abdul Gafoor, Tuesday remanded until 18 July all the members of the Liberation Tigers who were arrested by the Sri Lanka Police in the eastern town Monday night.

Police alleged that a parcel containing 102 rounds of ammunition and four grenades was found in the vehicle in which the Tigers were traveling when they were arrested by the Sri Lanka army and Police.

However, lawyers appearing for the defense told the court that the four girls in the vehicle had got into it while it was on its way to Batticaloa from Thirukkovil, 76 kilometres south of the eastern town, and that therefore they were not culpable. They argued that only the driver of the vehicle could have knowingly carried the parcel, which allegedly contained the grenades and ammo.

Questioned by the magistrate, the girls said they were on leave and had stopped the vehicle at Thambattai, about six kilometers north of Thirukkovil, to get a lift to Batticaloa. They also stated that they were following a course on computer studies during their leave.

The counsel for the defense argued that the Tigers in the vehicle could not have called on the SLMM to intervene in the matter if they had been aware of the contents of the parcel in the vehicle.

The Police, led by Deputy Officer in Charge of the kaathaankudy Police, Mr. P.P Wickramaratna, held that all persons in the vehicle were culpable under the offensive weapons act, for which only Sri Lanka’s Court of Appeal can grant bail.

He said that Sri Lanka army staff sergeant Francis Neville and Lance Corporal Sena Lalitha Sebala Kumara along with two Police constables had stopped the vehicle around 9.20 p.m. at the Kallady Bridge checkpoint on Monday night.

However, the Police did not produce the said ammunition and grenades in the parcel found behind the driver’s seat. The LTTE’s vehicle has been seized by the Police.

The Police urged that the court to charge all the members of the LTTE who were in the vehicle to be charged under section 2, No. 18 of the offensive weapons act of 1966.

After hearing the submissions, the Batticaloa magistrate put off his order until Friday, 18 July.


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