Systemic impossibility of Colombo's reconciliation exposed: Tamil political prisoners

[TamilNet, Friday, 02 September 2016, 06:28 GMT]
Colombo's Attorney General's Department is prolonging the detention of Tamil prisoners, who were detained by the SL Military Intelligence before 2010, Tamil political prisoners said this week. While proposing to release those detained after 2010, Colombo is insistent upon prolonging the detention of Tamil political prisoners detained for several years by transferring their cases to the so-called Special Court in Anuradhapura, which has only investigated 3 of the 18 cases of Tamil prisoners of war since its establishment. The same court has investigated hundreds of petty crimes, they said. Colombo insisting upon subjecting Eezham Tamils on ‘Terrorism’ charges while entertaining Sinhala genocidaires with State honour has amply demonstrated that Colombo is not prepared to face the future with necessary attitudinal change, they further said.

Under these circumstances the outgoing UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon’s visit is not going to bring any change, just as his previous visit under Rajapaksa failed Eelam Tamils, the legal activists in Jaffna said citing the cases of Tamil political prisoners languishing in the SL prisons for several years.

37-year-old Purusothaman Aravinthan from Jaffna was arrested in September 2009 while he was traveling to Colombo from Vavuniyaa. He was interrogated at the torture chamber in the ‘4th Floor’ until December 2009.

A forced confession obtained under torture was to be used against him and he was transferred to Anuradhapura prison and detained there for 3 years.

But no case was filed against him. As there was no case filed against him, Mr Aravinthan moved a fundamental rights case at the SL Supreme Court in Colombo in 2013.

The SL Attorney Department argued that it was preparing to file a case against him at Vavuniyaa Court.

But, last year, the SL Attorney General's Department moved a case against him at Anuradhapura Special Court as it feared that the judges at Vavuiniyaa Court could dismiss the case on the basis of confession obtained under torture.

Another youth, Thaborooban Rasavallan from Chunnakam, has also been included in the same case against Aravinthan.

The SL Attorney General’s Department was trying to strengthen their case against both of them by arguing that both of them were instrumental in the Black Tiger Operation E'l'laa'lan on Anuradhapura air base in 2007.

While telling the Supreme Court in Colombo that their case would be investigated by the Court in Vavuniyaa, the case filed in Anuradhapura was again prolonging the process and Aravinthan moved another case in the Supreme Court. The SL Attorney General’s Department is intentionally sitting on the case and has not responded for three months, says Aravinthan's lawyer.

A Police Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) named Jeyasuriya is said to have recorded the statement at the 4th Floor. But, this ASP had never met the client under any circumstances, the legal sources said.

The SL Attorney Department is operating with information collected about the family background of the detained victims and if it intends to detain the person for a prolonged time, the victim gets connected with a serious case, the legal sources said.

Unless there is a political will to release the prisoners, Colombo and its judicial system will continue to chase them, making the struggle of Tamil political prisoners into an endless and self-defeating pursuit.

On Tuesday, NPC Councillor Ananthy Sasitharan, who was addressing an island-wide conference in Colombo said that Tamils could only start reconciliation from a position that those who are detained and those who are subjected to enforced disappearances are to be recognised as freedom fighters and not dealt with as ‘terrorists’.

“The Sri Lankan State brought out 6th Amendment and made the political aspiration of Eelam Tamils into a crime and as a result State Terrorism was born,” she said adding that the struggle for releasing the Tamil prisoners and the struggle for tracing what had happened to those subjected to enforced disappearances is also a struggle against international injustice as well as being a struggle against the State that engaged in State Terrorism and genocide.


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