Mass arrests to be restricted: AG

[TamilNet, Thursday, 09 April 1998, 23:59 GMT]
The Attorney General (AG), Sarath N Silva has pledged to representatives of the Tamil community that steps will be taken to restrict mass arrests during cordon and search operations in Colombo, said sources in Colombo.

At a meeting yesterday which brought together the Attorney General, the Solicitor General, Tamil Members of Parliament and representatives of community organisations, the AG outlined the measures his Department had taken following the complaints made by the public.

He promised that a conference where representatives of the Tamil community could meet and discuss matters with Defence authorities will be called on April 23.

He said that he would re-examine the measures taken to curb mass arrests and harassment of the Tamil public and keep Tamil political groups informed of developments.

The Tamil representatives who met the AG said that rather than having a mass of people being taken to police stations for the purpose of identification, it would be better if the security forces went house to house to investigate and establish the identities of these people.

The delegation also requested the AG that steps be taken to see that the security forces ask for no document other than the national identity card to establish identity.

They also criticised the prevailing system whereby those wanting to return to Jaffna from Colombo had to obtain a certificate from the Grama Seveka before being given security clearance to proceed to Jaffna.

The Tamil representatives who attended the meeting said that the AG has a secondary say on the the authority the arresting and detaining agencies have now under the provisions of the emergency regulation.

A TULF Parliamentarian said this evening that if the AG is genuine, then he should first begin legal proceedings on the scores of Tamil political prisoners at the Kalutara prison who have launched numerous protests since 1995 that they be subjected to judicial processes of the country or be realesed forthwith.

 

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