Tamil prisoners who have embarked on a hunger strike to force the transfer of their case back to the Vavuniya High Court from the Anuradhapura High Court yesterday filed an appeal in the Court of Appeal against the Attorney General and the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID).
Petitioners Rajathurai Thiruvarul, Mathiarasan Sulakshan and Ganeshan Dharshan, who have been fasting for the last 32 days, filed their petition through their Attorney M.K.P. Chandralal. They state that they were arrested by the TID and produced before the Magistrate before being committed to fiscal custody. They also revealed that they were remanded in various prisons and are presently being detained in the Anuradhapura Prison.
They state that they were indicted by the then Attorney General in the High Court of Vavuniya in 2013 and their case was called on 58 instances without a trial being initiated.
Finally, the High Court Judge of Vavuniya fixed the case for trial for two days in September 2017, they asserted. While the case was fixed for trial in September 2017 in the High Court of Vavuniya, the Attorney General moved to transfer the case to the High Court of Anuradhapura.
They claim that they do not have any relatives or friends in Anuradhapura and that they speak only Tamil and that it would be very hard for their family to offer defence and understand proceedings in the Anuradhapura High Court since Tamil was not the language being used.
They lamented they would be denied a fair trial in the High Court of Anuradhapura and drew attention to the fact that out of the 67 witnesses in the case, 64 were from the Police and Armed Forces.
They contended that therefore there was no fair reason for the Attorney General to transfer the case from the Vavuniya High Court to the Anuradhapura High Court in the present improved security situation.