Tissainayagam in wrongful custody, Jasikaran tortured, allege counsels

[TamilNet, Friday, 13 June 2008, 19:07 GMT]
Senior Tamil journalist and Sunday Times columnist, J.S Tissainayagam, under detention since his arrest on March 6, was produced Friday before the chief magistrate N. Hettiarachchi 98 days into his detention, legal sources in Colombo said. The Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) of Sri Lanka's Defense Ministry objected to Tissainayagam and other detainees from being moved to the Fiscal Custody according to regulation 21 (2) of the emergency regulations of 2005.

Counsel for Tissainayagam, M. A Sumanthiran then asked that it be recorded that Tissainayagam is held in wrongful custody, as under the regulations after 90 days the detainee has to be moved to the custody of the Fiscal.

The Senior State Counsel Amendra Seneviratne said that he needed time to consider the said regulations, as he felt that there was a contradiction between regulation 19 and regulation 21.

Journalist Tissainayagam
Poster released by Journalist Associations calling for Tissainayagam's release
Counsel for V. Jasiharan, E. Thavarasa, held that it was the place of detention and not the detention itself was in question. He was only questioning the place of detention and that Regulation 21 (2) clearly states that if a person is detained for more than 90 days the magistrate shall order that the person is so detained in a prison established under the Prison Ordinance.

Counsel Thavarasa maintained that his clients V. Jasikaran and V. Valarmathy were being held wrongfully in custody.

All counsels for the defence moved for bail for their clients.

The magistrate ordered the two parties to look into regulations.

Counsel for Tissainayagam maintained that even when Tissainayagam was not produced on 6th June he had concerns on the wrongful custody of the detainees recorded.

Counsel for Jasikaran cited the Sirisena Cooray case where wrongful custody was a reason for dismissing the case. Nalin Laduwahetty also appearing for Tissainayagam said that detainees in the Kalutara and other prisons have been moved out of police custody into the fiscal and asked why an exception was made in this case.

He also cited the Dushyantha Basnayaake case where the detainee had been moved into the custody of the fiscal.

At this time, V. Jasikaran said he wanted to make a personal statement to the Magistrate, and a Tamil translator was summoned to help the court.

Mr. Jasikaran said that on the 10th of May when he was taken to the JMO he was afraid to tell the JMO that he had been tortured. However, when the magistrate ordered that he be taken to the JMO again on the 27th of May he showed the JMO the wounds on his back and his hands where he had been tortured.

Jasiakaran added that he also showed the JMO the scars on his feet where his legs were tied together, and then he was tortured. He said despite disclosing this to the JMO, the JMO had only given his report in Sinhala, so he did not know what it contained. He also said that the report was only given to the TID and not to his counsel.

That is why he wanted to make the magistrate aware that he had been tortured. The magistrate then ordered that the JMO report handed over to Jasikaran's counsel.

V. Valarmathy then said that she also wanted to make a statement. She said that since her husband Jasikaran had publicly disclosed to the Magistrate of the torture he suffered, she feared for her and her husband's lives and asked for protection.

The magistrate said they were under police protection. Valarmathy responded that it was in police custody that her husband was tortured, and now that they had to go back there their lives were in danger.

The magistrate disallowed her request.

Nalin Laduwahetty, M.A Sumanthiran and Gehan Gunethilleke appeared for Tissainayagam, E.

Thavarasa appeared for Jasikaran and Valarmathy. Senior State Counsel Amendra Seneviratne appeared for the state, and E Wijeratne assisted the TID.

 

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