Sri Lanka's AG suspends withdrawal of PTA cases

[TamilNet, Friday, 19 September 2003, 20:56 GMT]
Sri Lanka's Attorney General has directed all state counsels appearing in high courts in the country not to withdraw indictments filed under the prevention of terrorism Act (PTA) any more until they receive further direction in this regard, human rights sources said.

Following the direction by the AG, several accused who have been indicted under the PTA only on the confession purported to have been made by the accused, have been detained in Kalutara and other prisons located in other parts of the country, legal sources said.

Earlier, the State Counsels had withdrawn several indictments served on PTA accused in the past several months as the prosecution solely depended on the confessions of the accused and this had been done on the instruction of the AG, legal sources said.

Human right activists allege that the AG has suspended the withdrawal of PTA cases on pressure exerted by the chauvinist elements and also by the Presidential Secretariat as the Sri Lankan media reported daily the withdrawal of PTA cases, sources said.

The AG's suspension order has caused several Tamil persons to languish in prison for inadequate evidence other than the confession purported to have been made by them to police for a long time, legal sources said.

Human rights activists alleged that confessions of the accused indicted under the PTA had been obtained under duress and torture. Since then, the AG's department instructed all State Counsels to withdraw indictments filed against suspects under the PTA only on their "confession', legal sources said.


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