Police arrest released Tamil political prisoner

[TamilNet, Monday, 12 March 2001, 18:31 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Police in Valaichenai town, 32 kilometres north of Batticaloa, arrested Monday a youth who had spent more than three years in the Kalutara prison and was released by the Colombo high court six months ago. Relatives said the Police arrested the youth on being told to do so by a Sri Lanka Army informant. “The re-arrest and detention of Tamil political prisoners who have been cleared and released by the courts makes a travesty of the judicial process in Sri Lanka. Nevertheless, the Police and the army do it often for arbitrary reasons, purely on the strength of the powers given them under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Emergency Regulations”, a lawyer in Batticaloa told Tamilnet.

Erambamoorthy Mahenth, the SLA informant, had instigated the army four years ago to arrest Sivalingam Sivakumar, the youth who was taken into custody by the Police this morning, to settle a private feud, according to the relatives.

While operating with the SLA in the villages south of Valaichenai, Mahenth and his brother Sabha, arrested, tortured and murdered hundreds of young men and women since 1990, a human rights activist in Batticaloa said. Both are currently employed by the SLA in Colombo, according to him.

Both the Erambamoorthy brothers and Sivakumar are from the village of Santhively, on the main road to Batticaloa, eight kilometres south of Valaichenai. Sivakumar had married soon after his release and settled down in Kaayankaerni, his wife’s village, six kilometres north of Valaichenai. His wife is pregnant.

Mahenth had seen Sivakumar in the Valaichenai bazaar this morning and had immediately dragged him to the nearest army checkpoint, urging the soldiers there to arrest him. The soldiers, however, questioned Sivakumar and upon finding that the courts released him six months ago, let him free. Mahenth had then brought the Police to the spot and arrested Sivakumar.

“The SLA informant has no authority to tell the Police to arrest somebody unless he is an army officer. This shows the arbitrary manner in which ill informed Policemen act”, the Batticaloa lawyer said. Sivakumar is now being held at the Valaichenai Police station. “If a DO (Detention Order) has already been issued, then it will take at least three weeks before the boy can be cleared,” the lawyer added.

 

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