Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Pro Fonseka officers file FR petition

By S.S. Selvanayagam - Eight former armed services personnel who were actively engaged in ensuring the safety and security of common opposition candidate General Sarath Fonseka yesterday filed fundamental rights petitions challenging their arrest and detention which they claimed was arbitrary.

In their petitions to the Supreme Court they claimed they were subjected to unlawful arrest and detention, for the only reason that they held a political opinion which was different to that of the incumbent administration.

Former non-commissioned Military Police officer Egodage Lalith Ananda, retired Air Force corporal J.D. De Silva, Army officer Indunil Susantha Kudaligama, discharged Army private Senarath Dissanayake ex servicemen K.D.P. Anura Kalyana, M.K.S.N.K. Mallikarachchi, Vijitha Enston Kadippili and K. Ranjith Shan Thevapriya cited Police Chief Mahinda Balasooriya, CID DIG Nandana Munasinghe, and the Attorney General as respondents.

The petitioners alleged that their fundamental rights to equality and equal protection of the law, freedom from discrimination on grounds of political opinion, freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, freedom of speech and expression as well as freedom of association have been infringed upon by the respondents.

They are asking Court to suspend their purported arrest/detention and release them unconditionally on such conditions the Court deemed appropriate.

The application filed Lalith Ananda states that since January 29 he was being held against his will at the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID).

The petitioners said that Since General Fonseka's announcement he would contest the recently concluded presidential elections as the common opposition candidate and upon being reliably informed that his security had been curtailed and was insufficient to meet the perceived threat on his life, they had actively engaged themselves in ensuring his safety and security.

Mr. Ananda he had thus volunteered to render this service, as he sincerely believed he owed this to General Fonseka during his time of need and as the petitioner was genuinely attracted to the political vision and thought as promulgated by General Fonseka for the future development of this country.

Mr. Ananda said he was incarcerated together with more than 30 other officers, soldiers and other rankers who have all been confined in a very small space, with hardly any personal privacy at all, causing grave mental and physical strain and stress to their health and well being.

He said that after the results of the elections on January 29, whilst the Petitioner and several others were engaged in providing the above services at the election propaganda office of General Fonseka at Rajakeeya Mawatha, Colombo 7, officers attached to or acting under the authority and direction of DIG Nandana Munasinghe arrested them, continue to hold them in detention which was unlawful.

The petitioners alleged that no reason whatsoever had been given to them for their arrest and detention whether at the time of being arrested or thereafter; and they maintained that in fact, no reasons exists for the same.

Attorney-at-Law Lilanthi de Silva filed these applications for and on behalf of the petitioners.

© Daily Mirror

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