60 year old woman on terrorism charge

[TamilNet, Thursday, 26 March 1998, 23:59 GMT]
A sixty year old woman, Chellaiah Thavamani of Navatkuly in Jaffna, who was allowed to go on bail by the Mallakam court, was promptly arrested again by the Sri Lankan Police on the grounds that the court had no authority to handle the old woman's case because she had been arrested and held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and Emergency Regulations.

The woman was arrested and detained last year on suspicion because she was carrying a bag on which were printed photographs of some hydro-electric projects in Sri Lanka's central province.

The Police claimed that the bag was intended for the Liberation Tigers which is widely available in the south of the island.

The woman fainted in courts later when the Mallakam judge ordered that she be taken to Anuradhapura. She was then admitted to the Jaffna hospital.

The Mallakam judge allowed bail for her on humanitarian grounds as she was in a very feeble condition when the Police produced her in courts again.

The judge said the bail was granted as she was too weak to undertake the journey to Anuradhapura.

The Sri Lankan Police at Kankesanthurai filed a motion that the Mallakam courts had no authority to grant bail to the woman because, as a person arrested under the PTA and the Emergency Regulations, her case could only be heard before the Anuradhapura courts.

Following this the Mallakam courts directed the Police to produce Chellaiah Thavamani before the Anuradhapura courts. The Police re-arrested her and brought her before the Mallakam courts yesterday.

She is to be soon flown to Anuradhapura under Police custody said legal sources in Jaffna.

Meanwhile, the area of Potpathy which lies east of the Kankesanthurai Road and west of the Palaly road in the Jaffna peninsula, was cordoned off and searched from early this morning until 11:00 a.m. said sources in Jaffna.

The public in the area, numbering around 5000 - 6000 persons, was rounded up and taken the Potpathy Pillayar Temple till they were cleared of suspicion by a 'spotter' working with the Sri Lanka Army. No arrests were made.


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