Date set for Thangathurai trial

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 19 October 1999, 00:38 GMT]
The trial of those accused of involvement in the murder of former Trincomalee MP, Arunasalam Thangathurai, will commence on February 21, 2000, announced the East High Court Judge A.N.Ramachandran yesterday after serving the indictments on six of the seven accused. Lawyers appearing for the accused said some had been tortured by the police.

The first accused, Navaneethan Jeevakumar alias Jeyanth is absconding, said the Sri Lankan police.

The High Court Judge issued a warrant on him returnable on December 7 this year, through the Police.

The Judge said however the trial would commence on the set date, irrespective of whether the first is arrested or not.

The sixth accused, Ms. Ratnam Yogambal indicted by the Attorney General appeared in the court today for the first time, accepting the summons served by the Police.

The High Court Judge allowed her personal bail on a sum of Rs:10,000/- until December 7.

The Judge warned her to produce a male person as surety on the next date, else she would be remanded.

The second, third, fourth, fifth and seventh accused, namely Manikkam Muruganandam alias Jerome, Muttiah Koneswaran alias Bapu, Satkunanathan Nijanthan alias Nijan, Sivapragasam Ahilarupan alias Ahilson and Karthigesu Yogaranee were brought to Trincomalee via Anuradhapura from Kalutara prison where they have been detained, under heavy security.

The Attorney General forwarded the indictments against the seven accused to the East High Court last month. Thereafter the East High Court issued notice on the Kalutara prison authorities and the police to produce the accused in court on October 18.

All the seven accused have been charged with the conspiracy to murder Arunasalam Thangathurai, former Member of Parliament of the Trincomalee district on July 5, 1997, at a function held at Sri Shanmuga Hindu Ladies College. Thangathurai and five others were killed in this attack.

The second accused has been charged with the murder of Thangathurai.

The second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh accused have also been charged with aiding and abetting the first accused in committing the offence.

Attorneys appearing for the fourth and fifth accused made an application for a medical examination of their clients, as they had been tortured while in police custody.

Attorney Appadurai Vinayagamoorthy said that the right shoulder of the fourth accused was dislocated due to torture.

The High Court Judge then ordered the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer to examine the fourth and fifth accused and to submit a report to the court.

Attorneys appearing for the accused brought to the notice of the court that the prison authorities were not allowing the accused to talk to their relatives, even in courthouse.

The High Court judge then requested the prison authorities to allow the accused to talk to their relatives in the courthouse without disturbing the proceedings.


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