Judge forbids use of ambulance for arrests
[TamilNet, Saturday, 17 March 2001, 12:23 GMT]
The Vavuniya District judge, Mr. Manickavasagar Ilancheliyan Saturday ordered the Vavuniya Police to stop using an ambulance for arresting persons in the northern border town. He noted in his order that it has come to light that a group of Policemen led by an Inspector was responsible for the abductions in Vavuniya town this month by armed persons operating in ambulances, a white van and a jeep sans number plates. The judge told the Police that it was against the Geneva conventions to use ambulances for arresting people and ordered them to stop the practice forthwith. The order sheds light for the first time on the abduction of hundreds of persons by armed groups operating in ambulances in towns controlled by the Sri Lankan security forces in the north and east since the mid eighties.
The Human Rights Commission in Vavuniya had earlier informed the judge about the abductions.
Today, the Police produced Ramasamy Sivakumar and Kandaiah Kalyanakumar, before the judge and informed him that they are releasing the two youth, as there were no charges against them. The judge signed the release order and the Police let the two go.
The released boys appealed to the judge that that he should help them get their bicycles from the Police to whom they had handed over the keys when they had been arrested earlier this month. They told the judge that a group of Policemen had forcibly pushed them into an ambulance when they were coming out of the cycle park of the Vavuniya hospital and had blind folded and tied them up. They were then driven away in the ambulance and detained.
They said that they had handed over the keys of their bicycles to the Policemen who had arrested them and that they are appealing to the judge as their cycles are missing from the hospital’s cycle park.
The judge, upon examining their appeal, recorded their statements regarding the circumstances of their arrest and issued an order through the Vavuniya Headquarters Inspector (HQI) that the Inspector of Police (named in the order) who had used the ambulance for arresting Kalyanakumar and Sivakumar should appear in court on 22 March. He asked the Police to explain in court the reason for using an ambulance for arresting people, pointing out that it is against the Geneva Conventions to use ambulances for such purposes.
“Arrest and investigate anyone. But the arrest should be in accordance with the law and be on very valid grounds. All arrested persons should be produced in court and should either be released or cases should be filed against them. To blind fold and tie up persons during arrest and using ambulances for taking people into custody is against the law”, the judge told the Police in his order Saturday.