SLA officer says he arrested missing Jaffna youth

[TamilNet, Thursday, 22 July 2004, 09:43 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s Attorney General (AG) Thursday informed the Jaffna High Court that Lt. Col. T. M Mahindarathne, a Sri Lanka army officer who is the first respondent in a habeas corpus application, has written to the AG’s department acknowledging that he had indeed taken into custody Mr. Velupillai Uthayakumar on 17 June 1997 in Kodikamam, a town in the northern peninsula. Mr. Uthayakumar is among more than 600 Tamil persons who went missing after they were arrested by the Sri Lanka army in 1996-97.

The second respondent in the case is the Jaffna Sri Lankan Security Forces Commander and the third is the SLA commander. The AG told the High Court that the state counsel would no longer appear for the three respondents.

The habeas corpus application was filed by Mr. Uthayakumar’s father, Mr. Kanapathipillai Veluppillai in October 2003. Mr. Mudiappu Remedious, attorney at law, is appearing for the applicant.

Mr. Veluppillai along with the village officer of the area (J355), Mr. Thangamaylan and the principal of the Kodikamam Government Tamil Mixed School where Mr. Uthayakumar had studied for his GCE A.L, handed over him to Lt. Col. Mahindarathne who was the officer in charge of the Kodikamam SLA camp when they were informed that the military wanted to question the youth. The SLA at the Kodikamam camp issued a receipt to the Mr. Uthayakumar’s father acknowledging that it had taken the youth into custody on 17 June 1996.

But later in the day on 17 June 1996, the SLA had gone to Mr. Velupillai’s home, threatened him and seized the receipt of arrest from him.

Uthayakumar has been missing since then. Lt. Col. Mahindarathne received promotions since then and is now an officer at the Kankesanthurai Sri Lanka army base.

 

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