Colombo court reserves order in Tissanayagam case

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 24 June 2008, 04:20 GMT]
Colombo Chief Magistrate Monday reserved his order for June 30 on the application made by counsel for journalist J.S.Tissanayagam and two others that continuous detention by the Terrorism Prevention Unit exceeding thirty days under the Emergency Regulations is a violation of law, and pleaded the court to transfer the suspects to remand prison immediately, legal sources said.

Tissanayagam, Yaseeharan, and Valarmathi were produced in the court Monday.

State Counsel, Amendra Seneviratne, appearing on behalf of the Attorney General objected to the application and submitted to magistrate that under the Emergency Regulations the court has no power to transfer the suspects to prison custody, legal sources said.

The Chief Magistrate Nishantha Kapuarachchi reserved his order on the application by the defense counsel for June 30.

Meanwhile, Yaseeharan told in open court that he was assaulted by the officers of the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) for revealing the extent of his injuries to the Judicial Medical Officer.

Jaseeharan's attorney, Mr Thavarajah told the Court that the Court has the power to move his clients from TID detention to the prison.

Emergency Regulations clearly states that the Magistrate can only extend the detention period if the prosecution submits facts that establish reasonable grounds for extending the period of detention. Legal sources said, failure to complete the investigation as the prosecution has argued, may not qualify as "sufficient grounds" to extend detention.

Pertinent section of Article 17(1) of the ER follows:
    "...the Secretary may make order that such person be taken into custody and detained in custody for a period not exceeding three months and any such order may be extended from time to time for a period not exceeding three months at a time.

    Provided however that no person shall be so detained upon an order under this regulation for a period exceeding one year. The period of detention of such person may be extended if such person is produced before a Magistrate prior to the expiration of his period of detention, accompanied by a report from the Secretary setting out the facts upon which the person is detained and the reason which necessitates the extension of such period of detention. Where the Magistrate is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for extending the period of detention of such person he may make order that such person be detained for a further period of time as specified in such order, which period should not exceed three months and may be extended by the Magistrate from time to time.


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