Judge demands to see detainees

[TamilNet, Friday, 23 January 1998, 23:59 GMT]
The young district judge in Mannar took on the police and military authorities of the area today by insisting that they inform him of all arrests made by them once a fortnight and enable him to visit the detainees once a month, said legal sources in Mannar.

Justice M. Ilanchelliyan invoking the provisions of Section 15 of the Emergency Regulations (ER), informed the officers-in- charge (OIC) of the Talaimannar and Mannar police stations, the Counter Subversive Unit (CSU- an elite police intelligence service) and the Thallady Sri Lankan Army camp, that he be informed every fortnight of the list of prisoners held in these detention centres so that he could have the names displayed for the benefit of the public.

It is known that persons arrested by the police and the army in the Mannar district are incarcerated in these four places.

Justice Ilanchelliyan has also demanded that he be afforded the facility to visit these detainees once a month.

The ER and Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) have been used by successive Sri Lankan Governments for almost two decades to detain political prisoners under inhuman conditions.

The PTA and ER permit long periods of detention and give other sweeping powers to the police and security forces. In a move condemned by human rights activists, the SLG announced last week that visits to prisoners held under ER and PTA would be limited to once a week and to only one person nominated by the detainee in writing.

Further, the visitor has to obtain consent from the OIC of the police area where he or she resides, that the police does not object to the visits.

Though the existence of Section 15 in the Emergency Regulation was known, it fell into disuse during the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna insurrection in southern Sri Lanka between 1987 and 1990 because magistrates found the police and military authorities regularly flouting this provision in the name of national security.


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