ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 06

Relief announcer claims police harassment

By Telles Anandappa

A fundamental rights petition filed by a relief announcer of the SLBC, against her arrest and detention by police officers at the BMICH has been listed for hearing by the Supreme Court. The petitioner Sivanathan Sivaramya of Dehiwala, a relief announcer at SLBC and volunteer teacher at D.S. Senanayake College cited BMICH Police Post Chief Inspector, Cinnamon Gardens Police OIC and the Attorney General as respondents.

The petitioner said that on or about May 1, 2006 she had gone to the BMICH hall to attend a meeting sponsored by UNESCO for World Press Freedom. When she arrived at the main entrance she was stopped by the security and asked for her identity card. She had then produced the card issued by the Director of Government Information and the SLBC and she was asked to proceed. Ms. Sivaramya then stated that after she entered the hall some people came up to her and inquired whether she was invited. She said ‘no’ and produced her identity card and said that she had come to cover the proceedings.

She stated that they were from the Police Security Division and they were taking her for questioning as they suspected her to be a terrorist who had come to assassinate Mr. Mangala Samaraweera who was to attend the meeting. She was then taken to the Cinnamon Gardens Police Station and interrogated even though she claimed her innocence. However, the police insisted she was a terrorist and said there were some LTTE suicide bombers who had infiltrated Colombo and it was suspected she was one of them.

She said she was harassed at the police station and produced the next day before the Colombo Chief Magistrate and remanded until the conclusion of the investigation. She was not informed of the charges and on May 5 she was released on bail of Rs. 5,000. The petitioner said that after these incidents she was not able to get back her jobs and had to rely on her parents.

She claimed her fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution were violated and she be granted Rs 5,000,000 as compensation and given back her jobs. The Bench comprising Chief Justice Sarath N Silva Justices Shiranee Thilakawardena and Andrew Somawansa listed hearing for July 16 when the Chief Justice will preside . Attorney V.S.Ganeshalingam appeared for the petitioner. Senior State Counsel Ms.Harshika de Silva appeared for the Attorney General.

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