CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS FOR TISSAINAYAGAM’S CASE
Tissainayagam started news-website called OutreachSL.com using a grant from FLICT (Foundation for Local Initiatives in Conflict Transformation). FLICT is a Sri Lankan based grant making body funded by the international community (primarily the German government). FLICT funds civic and government initiatives including the government's Peace Secretariat.
7 March 2008
Tissainayagam apprehended by TID (Terrorist Investigation Department) and all staff of the website were apprehended by the TID.
10 March 2008
Tissainayagam’s lawyers denied access to see him (the lawyer was denied access to Tissainayagam until the 21st of March)
19 March 2008
Tissainayagam filed a complaint before the Supreme Court, claiming that since his arrest he had been tortured, suffered discrimination because of his ethnicity and denied equal protection under the law. Four of the staff of the website released without charges being filed.
20 March 2008
Tissainayagam's wife telephoned Director of TID to request permission to visit Tissainayagam at TID. Director of TID shouted at Tissainayagam's wife in derogatory language saying that Tissainayagam's wife could not see Tissainayagam now that a fundamental rights petition had been filed. After Mrs. Tissainayagam pleaded with the Director of TID, the director acceded Tissainayagam's wife that she could visit the the following day with Tissainayagam's lawyer.
21 March 2008
Tissainayagam's wife and lawyer visited Tissainayagam. He was allowed to see his lawyer in presence of the Officer in Charge of the TID. He told his lawyer that he did not know why he was being held and that he was experiencing blurredness of vision.
27 March 2008
First hearing Fundamental Rights petition. The judge asked for the detention order the State counsel said they had detention order but not in their possession to be given to the judge and it was not given to the detainee but it will be produced later. The judgment was put off for the Chief Justice to make the order. The detention order was later issued to Tissainayagam that afternoon in custody, back dated to 7th March
31 March 2008
Second hearing. Document given to the judge by state counsel not disclosed to the defense counsel. State counsel said that Officer In Charge of TID has said in his affidavit that that the Tissainayagam had confessed to taking money from the LTTE. Defence Counsel not allowed to see document.
5 April 2008
Tissainayagam's wife visited Tissainayagam. Tissainayagam asked OIC to meet Tissainayagam's wife in private. OIC refused request saying that the investigations are ongoing. Tissainayagam's wife asked if it was possible to meet in the hall along with the other families meeting their relatives detained by the TID, and the OIC just repeated that the investigations were ongoing. Tissainayagam has up until to date not been able to speak to his wife in private. OIC is always present and listening to conversation.
7 April 2008
Tissainayagam's wife visited Tissainayagam at the TID. Tissainayagam informed his wife that TID had retaken Tissainayagam’s statement.
15 April 2008
Tissainayagam's wife visited Tissainayagam at the TID. Tissainayagam informed his wife that TID had ceased to question him.
2 May 2008
Tissainayagam's wife visited Tissainayagam at the TID. When Tissainayagam’s wife was leaving TID, an investigations officer IP Jayasuriya informed her and a friend who was accompanying her, that the investigations were over and TID had found nothing and they were waiting for ‘orders from the top’ to release Tissainayagam.
8 May 2008
Tissainayagam's lawyers received OIC affidavit, and the Sinhalese translated copy of Tissainayagam's statement. The original Tamil statements of Tissainayagam was not provided.
9 May 2008
Tissainayagam taken to eye specialist. Eye specialist said his eye condition changed needs new glasses and review every month.
12 May 2008
Tissainayagam was scheduled to be produced at the Magistrates Court, under the Emergency Regulations of 2005 but Tissainayagam was not produced. Emergency regulations state that a detainee should be produced every 30 days in front of a magistrate to ensure that no torture had taken place.
14 May 2008
Tissainayagam's lawyers (this was only the second time lawyers were allowed to meet Tissainayagam) Tissainayagam's lawyers visited Tissainayagam but were only able to talk to Tissainayagam in the presence of the OIC, who Tissainayagam has accused of torturing him.
22 May 2008
Third hearing. Tissainayagam’s lawyers complained that the OIC had been present during Tissainayagam's client-lawyer conferences, and therefore the Tissainayagam could not advise his lawyers. They also requested the original Tamil statement. Judge ordered state counsel to produce original Tamil statement. Judge ordered that Respondent could not be present but other police personnel could be present during client-lawyer conferences. Next hearing postponed until 10 September 2008. No reasons for the delay in proceedings were given and there is no right to a speedy trial in Sri Lanka.
23 May 2008
Tissainayagam was scheduled to be produced at the Magistrates Court, but was not produced. Magistrate asked TID representing officer for Tissainayagam to be produced on 26 May 2008.
26 May 2008
Tissainayagam was scheduled to be produced at the Magistrates Court, but was not produced. Magistrate asked TID officer for Tissainayagam to be produced on 27 May 2008.
27 May 2008
Tissainayagam was produced at the Magistrates Court, TID legal officer said that investigations were not completed so they needed to further hold Tissainayagam. The magistrate ordered that Tissainayagam be produced on the 6th of June after his 90 days of detention.
6 June 2008
The TID defied the magistrate’s order of the 27th and did not produce Tissainayagam in court. Even though the magistrate gave the TID time till 4.30 p.m to produce him. Under emergency regulations of 2005 (these are the regulations that Tissa is detained under) Tissainayagam was scheduled to be produced after 90 days of his detention.
7 June 2008
Mr. Tissainayagam had been issued with another detention order extending his detention for a further 90 days from the 5th of June. No Charges have been filed against him.
13 June 2008
Tissainayagam was produced in court. His counsel held that he was held in wrongful custody as emergency regulations stipulate that after 90 days detainee must be moved to the custody of the fiscal not police custody. State counsel asked for time to consider and next date was given as of 23rd June.
23 June 2008
When the case was taken up in the Colombo Magistrates courts, Tissa’s lawyers pointed that Tissa was being detained illegally and the Colombo Chief Magistrate reserved the order for June 30th and asked the TID to produce him in courts on that date.
30 June 2008
Members of five media organizations staged a peaceful demonstration Monday around 10.30 a.m, demanding the release Tissanayagam in front of Colombo District Court. The Court extended the detention order served on Tissanayagam and two other Tamils, V. Jasikaran and Ms. V. Valarmathy until September 5 on request made by TID.
11 July 2008
The State Counsel, Parindra Ranasinghe, appearing in Tissainayagam’s wrongful custody case, admitted that investigations in the case had been complete last week, but that decision is yet to be made if the State is going to file charges against Tissainayagam. The Counsel requested from the Court for a further 47 days to make the decision. Tissainayagam has been held in custody for 126 days as of today.
30 July 2008
Colombo Additional Magistrate Ms. Malini Abeyratne ordered Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) police to submit the medical examination reports of Tissanayagam.
25 August 2008
The High Court refused bail for Tissainayagam on the grounds that he was charged under the PTA. He was charged under the PTA with 1) writing to bring discredit to the government and inciting ethnic and racial disharmony, 2) printing and publishing such material in the North Eastern Monthly between June 2006 and June 2007 3) Collecting money for the Northeastern Monthly from NGO's.
29 August 2008
Counsels for Tissainayagam, S.Jaseeharan and V.Valarmathi who have been indicted by the Sri Lankan Attorney General under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and Emergency Regulations (ER), informed the Sri Lankan Supreme Court that they were not seeking any interim relief as their fundamental rights violation applications have been listed for hearing on September 10 and November 14
8 September 2008
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its local affiliates in Sri Lanka launches an online campaign video condemning the arrest and indictment Tissainayagam, who passed his sixth month in jail on September 7.
26 September 2008
The hearing of Tissainayagam’s voir dire inquiry was put off for October 2 and 6 by the Colombo High Court Judge Ms. Deepali Wijesundara as the scheduled witness Assistant Superintendent of Police Ranasinghe of the TID was ill and unable to attend court.
04 October 2008
Cross-examined by the defence on the alleged confession made by journalist J. S. Tissainayagam, Assistant Superintendent of Police of Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) admitted that the TID had made a mistake when submitting the JMO reports in the case. Further trial was put off for October 6.
07 October 2008
At the conclusion of the cross examination of the Assistant Superintendent of Police Sri Lal Ranasinghe during the Voire Dire inquiry, defence counsel Anil Silva stated in the Colombo High Court that the ASP had not been present at the time J. S. Tissaiayagam was made to write down his statement.
8 November 2008
Tissanayagam testified before Colombo High Court Judge Ms. Deepali Wijesundara in the inquiery to ascertain whether the confession made by him to the TID was a voluntary one or made under pressure and threat.
14 November 2008
Amnesty International (AI), urged Sri Lanka to release Tissanayagam.
17 November 2008
Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister for Human Rights and Disaster Management, had visited J.S. Tissanayagam at the Remand Prison with the Prison Commissioner.
18 November 2008
Transfer of J.S. Tissanayagam to Magazine Prison in Colombo
28 November 2008
The Colombo High Court Friday reserved its order for December 5 on the Voire Dire inquiry on the admissibility of the purported confession made by Tissainayagam to the TID.
3 December 2008
Tissanayagam has been nominated for a media freedom award (“journalists who through their work, their principled stand or their attitude have displayed support for freedom of information.”) by Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
5 December 2008
Colombo High Court Judge Ms. Deepali Wijesundara ruled the confession made by Tissanayagam was voluntary. Next hearing on 18th December.