LTTE suspects ‘fast unto death’ to avoid courts: Prison report

A Superintendent of Anuradhapura Prison has submitted a report to the Anuradhapura High Court (HC) claiming, the fast unto death by three LTTE suspects accused of killing 26 Army and Navy personnel in their custody, was done to avoid courts. In his report, the Superintendent claims, “The three accused are in the habit of refusing food the day before they are due to be produced in court. The day after they are produced in court, the accused resume taking food as usual,” he has further alleged.

State Counsel Kasun Sarathchandra and Senior State Counsel (SSC) Madhawa Tennakoon, who represented the Attorney General (AG), told court that, outside influence had prompted the accused to engage in the fast, requesting their case be moved from the Anuradhapura HC to the Vavuniya HC.
SSC Tennakoon argued that the case, which was originally heard in Vavuniya, had been moved to Anuradhapura on perfectly justifiable grounds. While the AG’s Dept was not bound to state reasons for the change, he noted the move was made to ensure protection for the witnesses and a fair trial for the accused.
He further observed that, if any party feels aggrieved by the decision, they could file a case in the Appeal Court, rather than hold protests throughout the country.

Insisting that protests won’t help transfer the case, he stressed it should be heard immediately.When HC Judge M.N.J.K. Weeraman queried whether any lawyers are representing the accused, the second accused informed they would be represented on the next court date.The Judge, agreeing to a request by the SSC, arranged to appoint a lawyer for the accused at State expense. Accordingly, he ordered the President of the Bar Association to present a list of Tamil speaking lawyers who can represent the accused.

He further ordered the accused be presented to the Judicial Medical Officer and a report obtained. Accordingly, the case was postponed to Dec.5 to facilitate the HC Judge’s directives.

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