Quick Release

Jan 07, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s supreme court Monday directed the defence authorities to consider releasing without delay people detained and held without charge during security operations and do future searches with minimum harassment to the public. The directive came in response to a lawsuit by the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), a minority Tamil political party and labour union, court officials said.

The CWC was acting on behalf of its supporters languishing in detention for weeks or months after being detained during regular search operations in Colombo and elsewhere.

Hundreds of people, mostly from the minority Tamil community, have been detained during search operations by the military in the hunt for Tamil Tiger bombers and assassins.

The military says most of the detainees are those who could not immediately provide proof of their identity and that they are usually released after verifying their credentials.

In Monday’s ruling, the supreme court directed the defence ministry and police to consider releasing the few remaining detainees held after a bomb blast in a Colombo suburb last month that killed several people.

It urged the authorities not to detain people for long periods merely on suspicion and without any evi