Bad Justice

April 12, 2008 (AFP) – A Sri Lankan court has released a man who was held in custody for 55 years without charge, a report said on Saturday. Thantriye Emis Singho, 83, was arrested by police in 1953 for carrying a sword in a Colombo suburb.

A court sent him to a state-run mental hospital for treatment, the Daily Mirror newspaper said.

“Although he had been transferred to the cured persons’ unit at the hospital, no authority had inquired after him or produced him in court,” the newspaper said.

Singho’s plight was discovered by a human rights lawyer and a social worker who were doing a study on mental patients. They traced the man’s relatives and won a court order to secure his release last Thursday.

Earlier this year, another 80-year-old man who spent 50 years in custody at the same state-run mental hospital without facing charges was freed. .