PTA seen promoting arbitrary charges

[TamilNet, Thursday, 27 July 2000, 17:33 GMT]
A Tamil youth against whom Sri Lanka's Attorney General had filed six cases for killing scores of Sri Lanka army soldiers in 1992 in the Batticaloa district and for massacring Sinhala civlians in a village in the Polannaruwa district was released by the Batticaloa high court Wednesday.

No evidence was brought against the youth by the Police except his confession and not even the dates of incidents in which he was alleged to have taken part were given according to the attorney who appeared for the youth. This case is another typical example of the very arbitrary manner in which charges brought against Tamil youth arrested and detained for long periods under the Prevention of Terrorism Act the lawyer said.

Judge A.N Ramachandran released Balasingham Sasikumar, 24, after the state counsel told the court that the AG is withdrawing all the cases against against him.

Sasikumar, married and the father of one, was arrested by the army on 8 March 1999 at his home in Navatkudah, on the southern outskirts of the Batticaloa town.

The army handed over Sasikumar to the Counter Subversive Unit (CSU) of the Police in Batticaloa. His confession was recorded in Sinhalese by the CSU although he does not understand the language. Legal sources in Batticaloa said that such confessions are obtained under duress but the matter comes to light only in the case of persons who have been severely tortured and are hence examined by the Judicial Medical Officer as directed by the court.

Sasikuamr was thereafter sent to the Kalutara prison, south of Colombo.

The following charges were brought against Sasikumar by the Police when the six cases were filed against him in the Batticaloa high court on 1 March 2000.

Causing the death of three Sri Lanka army soldiers at Navalady in Batticaloa between 1 January 1992 and 31 December 19992.

Causing the death of soldiers in the SLA camp at Kattumurivu (about 74 kilometers north of Batticaloa) between 1 August and 1 December 1993.

Causing the death of soldiers who were on duty on the Batticaloa- Colombo road between 1 January 1992 and 31 December 92.

Causing the death of soldiers who on duty at the SLA camp in Aayithiyamalai (about 16 kilometers southwest of Batticaloa) between 1 January 1992 and 31 December 92.

Causing the death of (Sinhala) civilians in the village of Godella in the Polannaruwa district between 1 January 1992 and 31 December 92.

Receiving military training from the Liberation Tigers at Tharavai (about 36 kilometers northwest of Batticaloa)

Sasikumar pleaded not guilty in all six cases when he was charged in court on 26 May this year.

The chief witness in all the cases filed against Sasikumar was Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Bandula Kumara who recorded his (Sasikumar's) confession. Police told the court that the SSP had died. The other witnesses were two seargents and a constable, one of whom had typed the confession. The other two had been present while it was recorded. The sole production in the case was the confession obtained from Sasikumar by the deceased SSP.

As Sasikumar was arrested and detained under the PTA, the Police did not bother to produce even a single object related to one of the six incidents, a witness who saw or who may have provided corroborative evidence a legal source in Batticaloa pointed out. "The security forces have taken the PTA for granted so much that the Police no even given the specific dates on which the incidents took place" he added.

 

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