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Sri Lanka's Genocidal War - '95 to '01
Authorities often breach laws and regulations relating to arrest and detention
"SUPREME COURT judge ARB Amarasinghe says in a judgment that Sri Lankan authorities often breach laws and regulations relating to arrest and detention. The detention of Jaffna Tamil youth Vijayam Vimalendran for over three years was illegal the Court declared on 20 December and ordered Rs 25,000 compensation.
Although Emergency regulations give wide powers to the security forces there must be adequate grounds for arrest. The Court says the Defence Secretary should have sufficient evidence before signing detention orders. Even those detained under Regulation 17 (i) as posing a threat to national security, should be informed of the reasons for arrest...
Human rights agencies say safeguards in the law are being circumscribed by authorities. In the north-east arrested persons are held for 60 days under Emergency regulations and then under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) which provides for 18 months detention without being produced before a court.
In southern areas, including Colombo, suspects are generally detained for seven days under Emergency regulations and then under the PTA on the orders of a magistrate. Agencies say such prolonged detentions are illegal. Twenty three prisoners in Kalutara prison for over two years allege that their detention is illegal and say they will fast unto death if they are not released before 19 January... There is a fear in Colombo that military death squads have returned. Retired Tamil engineer Mahadeva was abducted in the dreaded white van on 25 December from his residence in Bambalapitiya..." (British Refugee Council Publication Sri Lanka Monitor, August 1996)