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INDICTMENT AGAINST SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka's Genocidal War - '95 to '01

Asian Human Rights Commission appeals against Sri Lanka's prolonged custody of a Tamil for 3 years without trial...

On 21 July 2000, the Asian Human Rights Commission issued an urgent action appeal (UA Index: 000721) in respect of the prolonged detention in custody of Krishnasamy Ramachandran. The text of the appeal read:

SRI LANKA: Man held more than 3 years in jail with no trial

The following case is of a 43 year-old man, Krishnasamy Ramachandran, who has been detained in prison for over three years in Sri Lanka with no trial. AHRC issued an urgent appeal (UA 17/00) in March regarding the torture of Michael Edward, who had been detained for almost 2 years, and the letters sent on his behalf led to his release within 5 weeks. Mr. Edward was being detained at the same prison as Mr. Ramachandran, and AHRC believes that your letters written on this case can produce another successful result.

PERSONAL DETAILS OF MR. RAMACHANDRAN

Prolonged Detention in Custody

Name of detained person :- Krishnasamy Ramachandran
Age :- 43 Years Married and father of 3 children
Address :- No. 107\ 5 Mawala Watta, Uda Peradeniya.
Religion :- Hinduism
Nationality :- Sri Lanka Tamil
Occupation :- Labourer

DETAILS OF CASE

On the night of 3rd January 1997, officers of the Kandy Police Station, Criminal Investigation Dept came to the house at the above address and arrested Krishnasamy Ramachandra. The Police took him into custody as a suspect involved in the incident of the bomb blast at the sacred Buddhist Temple of the Tooth, Kandy.

The Police stated that this persons driving license was found near the Temple site. Later the Police came to inspect the house several times. Mr. Ramachandra has reported that he was severely assaulted by the Police while in custody.

The Police had said that the man would be released after questioning but this was not done.

He was then sent to Colombo to the Head Office of the Criminal Investigation Dept. Mr. Ramachandra's family has not received any document to state that he has officially been taken into custody.

About 7 months later the International Committee of the Red Cross (I.C.R.C) sent his family the information that Mr. Ramachandran was transferred to Kalutara prison. He was registered in their list under I.C.R.C. number 000116129. In December 1999 he was brought to the Bogambara prison, Kandy. Since then he has been presented before the magistrate once a month, and then taken straight back to the prison. Thus far, no court case against him has been filed. He has been held in detention for over 3 years.

SUGGESTED ACTION

AHRC requests that Mr. Ramachandran either be brought to trial immediately or released on the basis of lack of incriminating evidence. Please write to the Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission, Minister for Justice, Commissioner General of Prisons, and the Superintendant for Prisons to compassionately consider this issue and to ensure Mr. Ramachandran is given just treatment.


SAMPLE LETTER

Dear [Honourable Minister] The case of Mr. Krishnasamy Ramachandran has come to my attention. He has been detained in prison without trial for over 3 years, and has been in Bogambara Prison since December 1999. Mr. Ramachandran deserves fair treatment, and should not have to endure the loss of three years of his life without having a court case against him. His detention also has a negative effect on his family and community. I ask that you see to it that Mr. Ramachandran is either brought before trial immediately or released. Three years is long enough for any police force to gather evidence for the case. If there is so little incriminating evidence that they cannot hold a trial within three years, he should be released on this basis. Thank you for your urgent attention to this matter. Yours sincerely

PLEASE SEND LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. O S M Seneviratne Chairperson Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka No. 50, Dr. N W Perera Mawatha Borella, Colombo 8 Sri Lanka Fax: 94-1-694 924 SALUTATION: Dear Mr. Seneviratne

2. Hon Prof. G.L.Peris, Minister for Justice, Constitutional Affairs, Ethnic affairs and National Integration, Justice Ministry, Superior Courts Complex, Colombo - 02 Sri Lanka. Tel: 94-1-433192 Fax : 94-1-445446 SALUTATION: Dear Honourable Minister

3. Commissioner General of Prisons, Prison Department, 150, Baseline Road, Colombo-09, Sri Lanka. Tel: 94-1-691976 Fax:-94-1-695206 SALUTATION: Dear Commissioner 4. Superintendent of Prisons, Bogambara Prison, Kandy, Sri Lanka. Tel: 94-8-234320, 234321 Fax: 94-8-224059 SALUTATION: Dear Superintendant

AND

***Please remember to send a copy to AHRC Ugent Appeals Programme Asian Human Rights Commission Unit D, 7th Floor, Mongkok Commercial Centre, 16 - 16B Argyle Street, Kowloon, HONGKONG Tel: +(852) - 2698-6339 Fax: +(852) - 2698-6367 E-mail: ua@ahrchk.org

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