Sri Lanka court allows appeal against eviction of Tamils

July 26, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court said on Thursday it would hear an appeal challenging the eviction of nearly 400 minority ethnic Tamils from Colombo by authorities in an anti-rebel drive. The court fixed a formal hearing for November.

The three-judge bench granted “leave to proceed” in a case filed against the police and the state security apparatus for forcibly removing nearly 400 men, women and children last month as part of an anti-rebel campaign.

“The court granted leave to proceed in the fundamental rights case and the hearing will be on November 28,” a court official said.

An order preventing police and security forces carrying out similar evictions would remain in force till the conclusion of the case, officials said.

Some of the evicted Tamils have since been brought back to Colombo. Others have returned to their homes in the war-affected areas of the island.

Sri Lanka’s government was heavily criticised over the evictions, with rights groups saying the move to eject Tamils from budget hostels in Colombo was a form of “collective punishment”.

The government apologised, although police argued that Tamil Tiger suicide bombers and assassins had be