Missing man's wife battles in Court

[TamilNet, Saturday, 11 November 2000, 00:39 GMT]
The Eastern High Court on Friday re-issued notices on the Inspector General of Police, the Secretary of the Ministry of Defense and the Trincomalee Headquarters Inspector of Police to appear on December 12 in the matter of an application for an order in the nature of a Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by the young wife of a missing Tamil civilian, Vairamuthu Jeyakili.

Vairamuthu Jeyakili along with two of his colleagues were arrested by Sri Lanka Navy personnel on February 24 this year at Salli in Sampaltivu, about 8 k.m. north of Trincomalee town on Uppuveli-Nilaveli road. They were arrested following an attack on their check point by the Liberation Tigers on the night of February 23.

Thereafter except Vairamuthu Jeyakili, other two persons were handed over to the Police custody. But the whereabouts of Vairamuthu Jeyakili is not yet known.

In this Habeas Corpus application the petitioner has cited six respondents- namely; 1.The Officer in Charge of the Navy Detachment at Nilaveli. 2. The Commodore, Sri Lanka Navy. 3. The Headquarters Inspector of the Trincomalee Police. 4. The Inspector General of Police 5.The Secretary of the Ministry of Defense 6. The Attorney General.

When the Habeas Corpus application was taken for hearing on Friday before the Eastern High Court sitting in Trincomalee. The first, second and sixth respondents were represented. As the other respondents were not represented, the High Court Judge Mr.A.N.Ramachandran re-issued notices on them to appear before him on December 12.

The petitioner Pushparatha Jeyakili of Ward No: 7, Salli, Sambaltivu in her affidavit states:

My husband Vairamuthu Jeyakili is aged 33 and a father of three children. Fishing is our livelihood.We owned a fibre glass fishing boat and an outboard motor with all accessories.

On 24th February this year Thursday around 4 p.m. after registering at the Salli navy check point as required by the relevant security authorities under the leadership of my husband, Navaratnam Mohanraj (19) and Thiyagarajah Pathmaseelan (18) set out to sea at about 5 in the evening for fishing.

My husband before leaving home mentioned to me, that they were going to Pigeon Island rock area as usual for fishing and they hope to return home on Saturday early morning, 26th February, 2000.

Since, my husband and his colleagues failed to return even after 12 noon Saturday I personally requested my brothers-in-law to go and search for my husband and his two colleagues.

My brothers-in-law went in another boat to Pigeon Rock island in search of my husband and his colleagues. They informed me on their return that there was no trace of my husband, his colleagues or any fishing boats at the Pigeon Rock island.

After this confirmation, my mother and mothers of Mohanraj and Pathmaseelan and I proceeded to the Nilaveli Navy Camp to report the matter. At Nilavali, residents of the area informed us that on Friday (25.02.2000) around 5.30 three persons were brought by some navy personnel in a boat from Salli to the said camp.

After this we inquired from the Nilaveli Navy camp personnel about the whereabouts of my husband and his colleagues. They categorically disclaimed the arrest of my husband and his two colleagues or the knowledge of their whereabouts. But, the navy personnel collected the national identity cards of my husband and his two colleagues from us and proceeded to record the details.

On Sunday, 27th February,2000, I went to the Kuchchaveli Police Station with others and made an entry regarding the disappearance of my husband and his two colleagues.

On Monday,28th February 2000, I made a complaint to the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) and the Human Rights Commission(HRC) authorities in Trincomalee regarding the disappearance of my husband and two of his colleagues.

On Wednesday (01.03.2000) I came to know that the Nilaveli Navy personnel had handed over the two colleagues of my husband, Navaratnam Mohanraj and Thiyagarajah Pathmaseelan, to the Police custody.

At my request, my father-in-law and brothers-in-law rushed to the Trincomalee Police station and inquired personally from Navaratnam Mohanraj and Thiagarajah Pathmaseelan as to what happened to them and whether they know the whereabouts of my husband.

According to them on Friday, 25.02.2000, the Nilaveli navy personnel arrested all three of them at the Pigeon Rock island around 2 p.m. and took them to the Nilaveli beach, opposite the navy camp. Soon after all three of them alighted from their fishing boat, the Navy personnel removed the shirts of all three persons and blindfolded them with the same, and took them to the Navy camp.

At the navy camp the suspects were detained in separate rooms and interrogated. My husband and his two colleagues were assaulted and tortured, I was told.

I was also told that on Sunday (27.02.2000) while they were being detained and interrogated, my husband had mentioned to this two colleagues at the Nilaveli Navy camp that he has received cut wounds and injuries on his head and legs. Also my husband had told his colleagues that due to torture and assault wounds he was suffering from severe pain and stress.

In the meantime once again, I approached the ICRC and the relevant authorities and they had given assurance that after making the necessary inquiries from the relevant sources that they will let me know about the actual position about my husband.

On Thursday ( 02.03.2000 ) I went to the Kuchchaveli police station once again. They told me the same day at 2 p.m. they would be in a position to tell me the actual situation about the whereabouts of my husband. But nothing materialized regarding the whereabouts of my husband, up to now.

Thereafter, on 15th March one of the suspects Navaratnam Mohanraj was produced in Magistrates' Court and later released on bail. Subsequently on 26th April Thiyagaraja Pathmaseelan was produced in courts and remanded in fiscal custody. Now the suspect Pathmaseelan is detained at the Boosa Detention Camp.

The fibre glass boat and other fishing gear and accessories belonged to my husband are still lying at the premises of the navy detachement camp at Nilaveli under the custody of the 1st respondent.

Although, nearly 05 months and 08 days have elapsed since the illegal and wrongful arrest of my husband by the 1st respondent and his men, my husband had not been charged for any offence before any court of law. The arrest and the wrongful confinement of my husband is without any legal or moral justification.

My husband is a person of good character who has never been involved in illegal, criminal or subversive activities.

In these premises, I have become entitled in Law to apply to Your Honor's Court for the issue of a Mandate in the nature of a Writ of Habeas Corpus directing the Respondents to bring up the body of my husband Vairamuthu Jeyakili before Your Honor's Court forthwith to be dealt with according to the due process of Law and relevant Statutes.


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