Two detainees freed

[TamilNet, Thursday, 19 February 1998, 23:59 GMT]
The Sri Lankan Supreme Court (SC) ordered the Police today to immediately release K. Kamaladas, a Tamil who was arrested in Vavuniya by a posse from the Mt. Lavina Police station in Colombo in late December and was remanded without being produced before a magistrate, said legal sources.

In a further violation of the law, according to them, even an official of the Human Rights Commission (HRC), who was to meet and record the detainee's statement was not allowed to do so.

Despite the legal provision to meet the detainee privately, the HRC official was permitted to meet Kamaladas only in the presence of police officers of the Mt. Lavinia police station.

In a similar instance, the SC told the Police today to release another Tamil, Pathmanathan Sivananthan of Colombo, for not producing him in court in compliance with an order made by the judge.

Sivananthan had alleged illegal arrest and torture while he was in the custody of the Crime Detection Bureau (CDB) from December 1, 1997.

Despite a fundamental rights application filed by Sivananthan's lawyer and an affidavit by Sivananthan's wife alleging torture, the police refused to release him after being ordered to do so by the SC on January 16 when the case was first taken up.

On the strength of a new motion filed by Sivananthan's lawyers, the matter was taken up today.

When the judge inquired from the police why Sivananthan had not been produced, their reply was that he had been detained under Detention Orders (DO) provided for by the Emergency Regulations.

The judge charged them with ignorance of the law and ordered the immediate release of the suspect.

The Supreme Court has rebuked the Executive — especially the police and armed forces — in recent times for not complying with the law. The main charges have been illegal arrest and torture. There have also been repeated complaints of the HRC being ignored by the police in reporting arrests or in looking after the welfare of detainees.


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