Petitioner claims he went blind on being tortured

FR case against TID

State Counsel informed the Supreme Court that the detainee who became blind due to the alleged torture inflicted on him by the Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) and filed a Fundamental Rights application, would be released within two weeks from Friday, March 4.

Petitioner Sri Selvan Judes cited Major Panditharatne Commandant Officer-in-Charge (OIC)- Omantai detention camp, Commandant OIC Murunkan camp, Commandant OIC Pambai Madhu camp Vavuniya, Commandant OIC Detention camp Vavuniya, Commissioner General of Rehabilitation Brig. Sudantha Ranasinghe, Commander, Sri Lanka Army, Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya, OIC Mannar Police, Nihal Wijeratne, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP)- Criminal Investigation Dept (CID), K.D.W. Amarasinghe, Superintendent of Police (SP) TID, Nimal Perera, Inspector General of Police, Mahinda Balasuriya, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and the Attorney General as respondents.

Petitioner said that, in May 1998, when he arrived at the Central Bus Stand in Pettah, he was arrested by the TID on suspicion, without being informed of the reasons for his arrest. He was blindfolded and taken to an unknown destination, where he was tortured and assaulted mercilessly. Petitioner was produced before a magistrate on June 5, 1998, and remanded at the Kalutara Prison. Petitioner stated that he was subsequently indicted in the High Court of Colombo.

While in custody, he was treated by the Judicial Medical Officer, for the injuries he suffered to his right eye due to the assault and torture he underwent, and consequently lost his sight in both eyes. Petitioner said that in July 2002, he was acquitted by order of the High Court.Petitioner instituted action in the District Court but could not attend proceedings due to the travel restrictions in the Vavuniya district, and therefore, the proceedings were terminated.

Petitioner stated that in October 2009, the petitioner and his family were arrested on the grounds that he had been identified as a prisoner who had been exchanged for some captives held by the LTTE, and that his eye surgery was funded by the LTTE. Petitioner said that he was detained as a ‘surrendee’, on a baseless and erroneous premise, when he had already been acquitted and discharged by the High Court.

Petitioner claims that he was detained in several camps in the Vavuniya District, where the respondents were in charge. Petitioner said that, his unlawful arrest, detention and torture violated his fundamental rights under Article 13(1), 13(2) and 14(1) of the Constitution.

State Counsel Thushara Kumarage informed Court that the petitioner would be released in not less than two weeks from March 4. The Bench comprised Justices Ms. Shiranee Thilakawardene, K. Sripavan and I. Imam Attorney M.A. Sumandiram with Viran Corea instructed by Mohan Balendra appeared for the petitioner.

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