Tamil detainees appeal for safety guarantees

Place: Kalutara | Courtesy: TamilNet
| Date: 20010110

Tamil Political detainees held at Kalutara prison have appealed to the Human Rights Commission (HRC) to take measures to guarantee their security in the prison. The detainees have also complained about quality of food, medical facilities and prolonged detention.

A delegation comprising the Chairman, Commissioners, and senior officials of the HRC visited the prison on a fact-finding mission last week. A large number of Tamils arrested on suspicion under the prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) are held at the Kalutara prison, about 30 km. south of the capital, Colombo.

The prisoners have complained that many of them are detained without legal action being taken against them. In some instances, cases that have been taken up for hearing at High Courts in Colombo, and the hill towns of Kandy and Badulla have been postponed for up to nine months. The detainees accused the authorities of deliberately delaying the proceedings, officials said.

The detainees also brought to the notice of the HRC officials that some of them remain in detention even after the Courts have ordered their release. Detainees from other parts of the island pointed out that it was extremely difficult for their relatives to visit them, and castigated the HRC for not visiting them routinely.

The HRC team visited various section of the prison and found a lack medical facilities for detainees suffering from diabetics and heart diseases, the officials said.