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Legal action against Tamil MPs calculated, partial – Defence Attorney

[TamilNet, Friday, 9 October 2009 14:50 No Comment]

”There are many who had addressed ‘Pongu Thamizh’ events held in various places in Sri Lanka then, now functioning as government ministers, deputy ministers and leaders of political parties. But cases are filed only on four Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarians accusing they had addressed ‘Pongu Thamizh’ rallies in countries like Germany and Australia in 2006 with the intention of partitioning Sri Lanka. Therefore this is a case of calculated and partial act,” argued K. V. Thavarajah, Senior Attorney-at–law, appearing on behalf of TNA parliamentarians, S. Jeyanandamoorthy, P. Ariyanethiran, Selvarajah Gajendran and K. Sivajilingam, in Colombo Chief Magistrate Court, Tuesday, with Magistrate Nishantha Happu Araachi on the bench.

The following are the excerpts of K. V. Thavarajah’s argument:

“According to the prosecution records this case in the beginning was filed under section 157 of the constitution which stipulates that a case could be filed and action taken if the crime was committed either within or out of the country. But, legally should the case be against individuals it could only be filed in the Court of Appeal and if it is against political parties, groups or institutions, in Supreme Court. This case being filed in a Magistrate Court under section 157 of the constitution we raised our preliminary objection against it.”

“Then the police, in consultation with the Attorney General, said that they are filing the case also under section 120 of the Penal Code. This court has the power to inquire into such a case on condition the crime had been committed within the country.”

“Therefore this court does not have the jurisdiction to inquire into a case of a crime committed out of the country which the four parliamentarians are accused of. If it is a crime committed under section 157 of the constitution it cannot be tried in this court. If it is considered filed under section 120 of the Penal Court, a crime committed out of the country cannot be tried.”

“Therefore we plead the bench to order the termination of this trial.”

“It is said that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) directed the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on 5th December 2008, two and a half years later, for the speeches made by the four MPs during the peace period in 2006, in ‘Pongu Thamizh’ events held abroad. It is claimed that the legal inquiry and filing of the case are under the above direction of the IGP.”

“It is a calculated and partial act of the government to file case against the four MPs for having addressed the ‘Pongu Thamizh’ events abroad during the peace period while not taking any action against present prominent political leaders who had addressed the events within the country.”

“CID had not been able to submit even a single report after filing the case and it is obvious that they are dragging the case.”

“Some of the accused MPs are in foreign countries. They have to return in order to serve their people and in the context of general election being held in the country soon. Therefore please terminate the case against them without delay enabling them to function independently.”

The court ordered the prosecution to have its response ready and fixed the next date for trial 3 November.

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