FR case: SC orders speedy indictment or release of terrorist suspects

The Supreme Court Bench, comprising Chief Justice Asoka de Silva, Justices Gamini Amaratunga and K. Sripavan, which examined a fundamental rights petition filed by persons arrested and still in remand prison, directed the State Counsel to expedite the investigations and indict the suspects or release them.

Petitioners Sivalingam Vivekananda, Rasamanickam Ramankumar and Kandasamy Pushparajah who are in remand prison since 2007 cited Director General Police Investigations, the Inspector General of Police, the Defence Secretary and the Attorney General as respondents.

Petitioner Sivalingam (24) is a student of computer engineering at the Open University. He had studied at the Technical College and after completing a course he had stayed with an uncle at Kirulapone. He had then followed an NDT crash course at Moratuwa University while residing in a boarding at Dehiwala but gave up the course after some time.

He stated that he was arrested at the boarding house on the grounds that he was a suspect in the Katubedda bus bomb case. The reason given to him was that as he was a student at the Moratuwa University and as he had given up the course he was a suspect. He said that while in custody he was assaulted and forced to sign some documents the contents of which he was not aware of.
Petitioner Ramankumar was arrested at the bus stand in Colombo.

State Counsel Ms. Anupa de Silva informed Court that investigations were still in progress and requested for further time. The three-judge Bench was of the view that either the Police should indict the suspects or release them if they had no evidence against them.

Justice Gamini Amaratunga told the State Counsel that there was ample time for the Police to investigate and come to a conclusion. He said that it was an inhuman act to arrest a person, keep in remand and then forget about him.

The Chief Justice told the State Counsel if the Police were not following the rules the AG’s Department must refuse to represent them. Justice Gamini Amaratunga told Counsel not to be a mouthpiece of the Police when asked to appear in Court for cases of this nature.

The Supreme Court granted time till December 18 to come out with some conclusive evidence against the suspects.

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