SC directs AG to expedite inquiry into Tamil detainees in prison

[TamilNet, Saturday, 29 August 2009, 17:01 GMT]
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Friday directed the Attorney General to prepare an emergency plan to expedite the inquiry of the hundreds of Tamils now being detained in prisons without any inquiry under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and Emergency Regulations(ER) in consultation with the Justice Ministry Secretary. “It is unjust to keep them indefinitely in remand. As a result of this delay the number of fundamental rights violation petitions challenging the detention without inquiry is on the increase hampering the smooth functioning of the judiciary,” said Chief Justice Asoka de Silva.

He made this comment when the FR violation petition filed by a Tamil youth Francis June was taken up for inquiry Friday before three member bench of the Supreme Court. The other two members of the bench were Justices Nimal Gamini Amaratunge and Chandra Ekanayake.

The court granted the State four weeks’ time to take a firm decision on the continuous detention of these Tamil detainees in view of the submission by the State Counsel who appeared on behalf of the Attorney General.

The court directed a copy of the order to be sent to the Secretary of Ministry of Justice. The matter was listed to be taken up again on October 6.

The petitioner Francis who is presently held in Colombo Remand Prison cited Officers-in-Charge (OIC) of the Negombo Police Station, Boosa Detention Camp and Criminal Investigation Dept. as well as Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) of the CID, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Secretary to the Defence Ministry and the Attorney General (AG) as Respondents.

Mr. B. N. Thamboo, instructed by Mr. Stanislaus Celestine, appeared for the petitioner. Senior State Counsel Riyaz Hamza appeared for the respondents.

Petitioner Francis, 27, in his petition stated that he was a native of Jaffna and that his parents had migrated to France and that he was living with his grandparents at Negombo. He said he was arrested by the CID from his Negombo residence on April 9, 2008, without any reasons and that he had not been informed of the reason for his arrest.

He further said that he was held under the custody of the CID in Colombo and was severely assaulted and tortured several times by CID officers during that period.

He also stated that he was produced before the Colombo Magistrates Court and had been detained at the Boosa Detention Camp and later shifted to Colombo Remand Prison, where he is held now.

 

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