2nd Lead (Adds photos)

Corporal Rajapakse remanded in Jaffna prison

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 28 July 2004, 13:04 GMT]
The Jaffna High Court Judge Mr.K.P.S.Varatharajah Wednesday ordered remand in Jaffna prison till August 4 for Corporal Rajapakse who was cited as the first respondent in seven Habeas Corpus applications filed by relatives of missing persons in Jaffna district during the period 1996-1997 and the inquiry into these cases were fixed for September 6, legal sources said.

Corporal Rajapakse inside prison bus
Corporal Rajapakse is currently detained in the Welikada prison after being sentenced to death in the Krishanthy rape and murder case, legal sources said.

Meanwhile, when the sittings of the Jaffna High Court adjourned for lunch several relatives of missing persons approached the suspect Corporal Rajapakse and inquired from him the whereabouts of their loved ones arrested and reported disappeared.

Corporal Rajapakse told them that he was not responsible for the disappearance of those youths arrested by him. ''I arrested Ariyalai youths on the orders of my superiors. Later I handed them to my superiors. I will reveal the names of the army officials in courts when the inquiry into the HC applications commences. I do not know what happened to those arrested persons,'' said Corporal Rajapakse to the missing persons' relatives who were present in Jaffna High Courts.

Corporal Rajapakse was brought to Jaffna by special aircraft from Colombo-Welikada prison to Palaly and then to Jaffna High Court under heavy security. He was produced in court as respondent in several HC applications, which came up for inquiry Wednesday.

Corporal Rajapakse told the court that he wanted two months to retain a lawyer from the south. The Judge rejected his application and said that he would give one-week to retain a lawyer. The Judge further ordered that the suspect be kept in Jaffna prison.

High Court Judge rejected an application made by prison officials who brought Corporal Rajapakse from Colombo to Jaffna that Corporal Rajapakse should be sent back to Colombo for security reasons. The Judge further said he would inform the Commissioner General of Prisons of his decision, legal sources said.

The Judge added that the suspect could obtain the services of Legal Aid Foundation (LIA). However, Corporal Rajapakse wanted the service of a lawyer from the south. LIA officials present in court informed that they could make arrangements for a lawyer from Anuradhapura to appear for the suspect, sources said.

The Judge thereafter fixed the inquiry into the HC applications for September 6, legal sources said.



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