ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 40

Vavuniya lawless: CJ intervenes

By Chris Kamalendran

The administration of justice in government controlled Vavuniya has come to a standstill with hundreds of cases being put off.
Chief Justice Sarath Silva has made an urgent appeal to Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to settle the crisis between lawyers and pro-government militant groups.

On Thursday and Friday more than 600 cases in the High Courts, District courts and Magistrate courts were postponed after the Vavuniya Bar Association charged that the Karuna faction and the EPDP were extorting money from them and threatening them with death.

The lawyers said the extortion demands often exceeded Rs. 100,000. Lawyers and judges in Vavuniya then sought the intervention of the Chief Justice to settle the crisis.

On Friday representatives of the Bar Association in Vavuniya along with High Court Judge R. Vishvanathan and District Court Judge Manikkawasagar Illancheliyan met the Chief justice.

The Chief Justice then contacted the Defence Secretary and sought an assurance that action would be taken to prevent armed groups from extorting money, a judge who took part in the discussions said. Accordingly orders have been given to the Police to take action to protect the lawyers.

One of the laywers had earlier complained to a judge about a militant demanding Rs. 150,000 and in turn the judge had informed the police. However, the following day the militant had called back the lawyer to say ‘why did you complain to the judge. He cannot prevent anything, but only conduct the inquest when I kill you”.

Karuna faction spokesman Azad Moulana denied the allegations while an EPDP official in Colombo said they were now in the main stream politics and not in the business of collecting ransom.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.