Feature Article
2ND LEAD (Parameswari released)

Reckless Justice

[TamilNet, Thursday, 22 March 2007, 02:23 GMT]
Discharge papers to release Mawbima journalist, Munusamy Parameswary, 25, who was arrested on 22nd November under Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), and held for nearly four months, on suspicion of "helping the LTTE and a suspected suicide bomber," were sent Wednesday morning, by Harshika De Silva, State Counsel representing the Attorney General (AG), to Colombo chief Magistrate Court. Parameshwari was released Thursday at 10:00 a.m..

Attorney J.C.Weliamuna, instructed by Ms Gowry Shangari Thavarasha, represented Parameswary in her Fundamental Rights petition to the Supreme Court.

Attorney at Law, Mr. K.V. Thavarasha arguing the case for Ms Parameswary in Colombo Magistrate courts, said there was "not even an iota of evidence that she had any connection with or helped the LTTE."

Munusamy Parameswary
Journalist, Munusamy Parameswary was released on Thursday
In the fundamental rights petition to the Supreme Court, Ms Parameswary said her arrest and subsequent detention was illegal and is in violation of the constitution. She said she has not been informed of the grounds of arrest, and that there do not exist any reasons to arrest and detain her.

The Petition named the Director of the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID), Special Suprintendent of Police, Ajith Wickremesekera, the IGP and the AG as the respondents.

Parameswary further said in her petition that "she was made to sign several documents and she signed them in order to avoid reprisal and she contests any incorrect, false or distorted facts or material in those [signed] documents."

The petitioner said that she was staying at a boarding house at No.28, Ramakrishna Road Wellawatte when,
  • on 23.11.2006 a friend of hers in the boarding house received a phone call saying that her brother has been abducted and he was being held in a van near the Savoy cinema,
  • the petitioner too received a call from an unidentified caller with the same message,
  • petitioner, motivated by the journalistic instinct, accompanied her friend to Savoy, when several men forcefully pushed them into a van, and
  • were taken to the Terrorism Investigation Division at Chaittiya Road, Colombo 11.

The van abductors used did not have number plates, and the abductors threatened her to stop writing to the Mawbima news paper, the petition said.

Munusamy Parameswary
Journalist, Munusamy Parameswary
While the Special Task Force (STF) led by Ajith Wickremesekera and law enforcement authorities, aided by state-controlled media, spread misinformation that "high-value" suspects linked to terrorism have been arrested, Justice department has subsequently concluded that there is no evidence to charge Ms Parameswary of any crime.

"Anti-terrorist investigators fabricated other accusations against her after the arrest. Three Sinhalese newspapers, for example, ran front-page reports that her confessions had enabled the anti-terrorist department to recover 10 kg of explosives and mines. It later turned out that officials made up this story and fed it to the media," RSF said in a press release issued Thursday.

Parameswary's friend, Ms Thambirajah Susanthi, is still in jail. Susanthi's brother was released on 18 December 2006.

On 23rd February, when Parameswary was produced in Colombo Courts before Additional Magistrate Mohamed Irashadeen, the Judge asked her to appear again on March 09. Chief Magistrate Ms Kusala Wijewardene extended the custody during the 09 March hearing to March 23rd asserting that bail cannot be granted for those arrested under Emergency Regulations.

In the meantime, the Fundamental Rights petition was being heard in the Supreme Court on 08 March when State Counsel, De Silva, said that she will expedite the matter and consider bail.

Parameswary's parents are of Indian Tamil origin. Her father Selliah Munusamy is from Gampola and was a dairy farmer. He moved to Kilinochchi in 1972, married there, and has four children. Due to war, Munusamy family relocated back to Gampola in 1998, and started a plant nursery supplying flowers. Parameswary first attended school at Kanvedi Estate in Mawatura, and late Kadiresan College in Nawalapitya, according to her rights petition.

22.03.07  Reckless Justice

External Links:
RSF: Court frees young Tamil journalist


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