SC holds State responsible for two disappeared youths

[TamilNet, Thursday, 14 April 2005, 12:01 GMT]
TSri Lanka's Supreme Court (SC) held last week that the State was responsible for the disappearance of two Tamil youths who were brothers after their arrest by soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army fifteen years ago on 6th July, 1990 in Trincomalee, legal sources said. The three member bench of the Supreme Court ordered the State to pay the petitioner who is the father of the two youths a sum of Rupees 300,000/= as compensation. The SC directed the State to pay the compensation within three months before the end of June, legal sources added.

The Fundamental Rights application filed by Mr. K.Machchavalavan came up for inquiry before a three-member bench of the SC comprised Justices Ms Shiranee Bandaranaike, N.K.Udalagama and Raja Fernando, legal sources said.

The petitioner said in his application that his two sons M.Arumugam aged 20 and M.Mahendrarajah aged 25 were taken into custody by army soldiers on 06.07.1990 with him and several others. Soldiers took them to Plantain Point Army Camp in Trincomalee the same day. He and two others were released later and not his two sons. On inquiry he was told that his sons were not in the camp, legal sources said.

The petitioner thereafter filed a Habeas Corpus application in the Court of Appeal. The petitioner begged the CA to order the respondents, the Officer in Charge of the Plantain Point Army Camp, Palaiyootru Grama Sevaka Officer and the Attorney General to produce his sons in court. The Court of Appeal referred the HC application to the Colombo Chief Magistrate for inquiry and report on the arrest and alleged imprisonment or detention. However the Colombo Chief Magistrate after inquiry sent a report to the Court of Appeal stating that there was no evidence to establish that the Plantain Point Army Camp OIC took part in the arrest of the two youths or was in any manner responsible for the alleged arrest and detention. The Colombo Chief Magistrate sent his report to the Court of Appeal based on the affidavit submitted by the OIC, Army Camp denying the arrest and detention of two brothers by him, legal sources said.

The Court of Appeal thereafter dismissed the HC application based on the report of the Colombo Chief Magistrate. The aggrieved petitioner appealed to the Supreme Court, legal sources said.

The Supreme Court last week after inquiry held that there was clear evidence that the two sons of the petitioner were arrested and detained in a cordon and search operation conducted on 06.07.1990. Justice Ms Shiranee Bandaranaike with Justices N.K.Udalagama and Raja Fernando agreeing said that the State was responsible for the infringement of the fundamental rights of the two sons of the petitioners. Justice Ms Shiranee Bandaranaike directed the State to pay Rs; 150,000 each for the two sons, who had disappeared while in detention in the army camp, legal sources said,

Counsel Dr.Thiayagar Thirunavukarasu appeared for the petitioner. State Counsel Mr.Riyas Hamza appeared for the Attorney General and Counsel Mr.S.Siymal appeared for the first respondent, Officer-in-Charge of the Plantain Point Army Camp, legal sources said.

 

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