TULF calls for Kalutara inquiry

[TamilNet, Friday, 07 January 2000, 11:21 GMT]
The Secretary General of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), Mr.R.Sampanthan, has requested the President Chandrika Kumaratunga to order an impartial inquiry into the incident resulting in the death of one Tamil prisoner and injuries to several other Tamil prisoners at Kalutara prison on Thursday.

Mr.Sampanthan in a letter to the President states that the Kalutara prison has been a hotbed of tension over a long period. This has been largely because a large number of Tamil prisoners have been held in detention for long periods of time; in some instances extending to several years, without investigations against them being completed and or charges being framed against them in court in court.

He further states:

"You will appreciate that it is a fundamental human right that any person in custody should be either called upon to face trial in court, or be released from custody within a reasonable period of time.

"The Committee appointed by you to deal with unlawful arrests and harassment decided that the Police should complete and submit to the Attorney General before January 31-all investigation reports in respect of all persons taken into custody prior to 1999, and that the Attorney General should wherever he decides to do so, file indictments in court before 28th February, 2000. It was also decided by the Committee that persons in custody against whom such action was not taken would have to be released.

"While the Committee would no doubt follow up this matter, I would request your Excellency to issue directions that even in the case of persons arrested in 1999, investigations be concluded expeditiously, so that the Attorney General can make a determination one way or the other even in regard to such persons.

"I would also urge that an impartial inquiry into the incident which happened yesterday be held at the earliest by an Independent person.

"The frequency of such incidents at the Kalutara prison would seem to suggest that the relationship between the prison authorities at Kalutara and particularly the Tamil prisoners has deteriorated over a period of time.

"I would also urge that the Inquiry makes a determination as to circumstances under which one Tamil prisoner came by his death and several others were injured and as to whether any one and if so who is culpable in that regard.

"I would also urge that the Inquiry also address the question of what further arrangements and adjustments are necessary to further improve the administration of the Kalutara prison, so that such incidents can be avoided in the future."

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