The judge said that a confession in which Jaseeharan admitted to supporting the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels had been obtained under duress and that medical records presented in court showed he had been tortured.The practise of torture and the concept of 'guilty till proven innocent' has plagued Sri Lanka's police force for two decades, or more. It is not a new practise, or a policy enforced by the government. It is a disease. No ethnic group is spared from it.
“The attorney general withdrew the charges as the judge noted that the confession was not made voluntarily,” a court official said.
Lanka Truth, a pro-JVP website, reported that president Rajapaksa's son, Namal Rajapaksa, had once made an unannounced visit to Kandy police HQ and delivered a speech to constables on the importance of maintaining a good rapport with the public and conducting their service in a noble and honorable manner.
Indeed, the practise of police beatings during interrogation is not just a Sri Lankan problem. It's common place in most parts of the developing world. Training and new interrogation methods is what's required in Sri Lanka. The time is right for the Sri Lanka Police and the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) to turn a new leaf. War is fast becoming a thing of the past in Sri Lanka. Unacceptable methods, and violation of any one's rights must no longer be tolerated in a peaceful society.
The shining light in all of this is that the Sri Lankan judicial system works! By no means is Sri Lanka a failed a state. The courts have come to the rescue of the common man on numerous occasions. Even overthrowing short sighted decisions made by Colombo's all powerful Ministry of Defence.
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When the defence ministry, last year, ordered the eviction of ethnic Tamils who had arrived in the capital fleeing the troubled northern region, the Supreme Court deemed it a violation of the basic constitutional rights of citizens.
Although security forces argued that Tamil rebels could be hiding among the refugees, the court went along with complaints from a political lobby group that the rights of hundreds of Tamils were violated when they were dragged out of lodges and forcibly transported out of Colombo.
But the court has also intervened in ordinary administrative issues where the government has been found wanting.
"When the government dilly-dallies on key administrative issues, people turn to the courts," a retired civil servant said. In one case, when admissions to national schools became a problem due to a corrupt system, the court ordered the education authorities to come up with a people-friendly system.