The Attorney General in September 2017 transferred three PTA cases from the Vavuniya High Court to the Anuradhapura High Court The three prisoners have since then launched a hunger strike and their condition is worsening by the day.
The Attorney General is reported to have stated that the transfer of cases to the Anuradhapura High Court was owing to security concerns raised by witnesses for the prosecution. We find this reasoning difficult to believe. The Attorney General must state publicly what these security concerns are and as to why the police are unable to deal with these concerns. It is ridiculous that the Attorney General is citing security concerns for transfer of cases out of the North-East eight years after the end of the war. The transfer of these cases give the impression that courts in the North – East similar to Tamil citizens are treated as second class. Is the AG concerned about PTA cases being heard in courts in the North-East? We wish to remind the Attorney General that his prosecutorial discretionary powers are subject to review and that he has a responsibility to act in a manner that instills confidence in the judiciary and the criminal process. This is particularly important given the lack of confidence in these processes and institutions from within the Tamil population of the country. We urge the Attorney General to re-transfer the cases immediately to the Vavuniya High Court. We also reiterate our general position that the Government must release all political prisoners unconditionally and immediately.
General Secretary, Tamil Civil Society Forum
Spokesperson, Tamil Civil Society Forum.