Tortured, raped detainee set free
| Date: 19981129
Ehamparam Dhamayanthi, a young woman of 20 years from Kommanthurai, accused of withholding information about Liberation Tigers and kept in detention for more than 22 months, was found innocent by the Batticaloa High Courts and was released from jail. The Police had filed a case against her under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) when she was arrested by the security forces on the 2nd February 1997, said legal sources in Batticaloa.
Dhamayanthi was accused of failing to provide security forces with information about Mohan, Amutha, and Saali who were alleged to be members of the Liberation Tigers.
The Chief Police Officer Edison Gunatillake who was responsible for recording statements from the accused accepting her guilt, and the Batticaloa district Medical Officer K. Chandrapalan appeared as witnesses.
During the Court hearings it was established that proper procedures were not followed by the Police when the statements from the accused were taken and that she was tortured when the statements were extracted. The High Court judge, Mr. N. Ramachandran released the accused, said sources.
Defense Counsel P. Premnath, who appeared on behalf of the accused, pointed out the conflicting statements in Gunatillake's accounts.
Chief Medical Officer K Chandrapalan in his medical report documented that there was irrefutable evidence that the accused was tortured and sexually assaulted.
In a Human Rights violation case filed on behalf of Dhamayanthi, based on evidence from medical reports, Colombo High Court Judges K. Gunawardena and Anandakumaraswamy had ruled on the 15th Jan 1998, that Dhamayanthi was raped and tortured while under custody of the police and armed forces. The Judges also ruled that she be payed Rs 50,000 in compensation and Rs 5,000 for legal expenses, said legal sources.
In his ruling, the Batticaloa High Court Judge, N. Ramachandran, stated that he has taken note of the proceedings of the Colombo High Courts where it was proved that the victim was raped and tortured while in detention, and that he is declaring her innocent, said legal sources in Batticaloa.