Mannaar magistrate orders SLN to cease photographing civilians

[TamilNet, Thursday, 10 January 2008, 18:45 GMT]
Mannaar district magistrate, T.J. Prabakaran on Thursday ordered the Head Quarters Inspector (HQI) of Mannaar Police, Chief Inspector Suthath Thasmadalle, to investigate and record statements from the Sri Lanka Navy officials who have been photographing civilians within the jurisdiction of Mannaar Magistrate's Court. The Magistrate also ordered to cease the practice of photographing people with immediate effect, questioning who gave such orders to the SLN in Mannaar, legal sources said. Two police constables who attacked a freelance journalist while the SLN troops were photographing civilians in Pa'l'limuani Wednesday, and their OIC were ordered to be transferred from their check post.

Chief Inspector Suthath Thasmadalle was present at the Court with the two police constables who had attacked a freelance journalist, Joseph Fernando, who was photographing the conduct of the SLN troops at Pa'l'limunai. The constables who attacked the journalist also deleted the photos from his camera. The journalist had lodged a complaint following the episode.

Mannaar magistrate, upon finding that the episode had taken place when the SLN was photographing civilians in Mannaar, questioned the Police HQI whether the Police was informed by the SLN on the photographing activity. The police had received no instruction or information from the SLN.

Granting bail on a suerty of Rs 50,000 to each police constable, the Magistrate ordered the HQI of Mannaar Police to instruct the policemen under him not to interfere in journalists' rights and ordered to transfer the policemen from their check post, investigate the policemen for their conduct and file a case against them.


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