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Judiciary In Jeopardy

Jun 19, 2010 3:20:15 PM - thesundayleader.lk

By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema

Two magistrates from the Chavakachcheri and Vavuniya Magistrates’ Courts have been transferred with immediate effect to different areas for no specific reason.

Chavakachcheri Magistrate T.J. Prabhakaran and Vavuniya Magistrate Alex Raja have been transferred with immediate effect to Akkaraipattu and Colombo respectively.

When contacted by The Sunday Leader, Prabhakaran confirmed that he had indeed been transferred with immediate effect and has been requested to report to work at the Akkaraipattu Magistrate’s Court tomorrow (21).

He said that Thursday (17) was his last working day at the Chavakachcheri Magistrate’s Court and he has to now move to Akkaraipattu along with his family within a few days.
Alex Raja was not available for comment.

However, the sudden transfers of the two Magistrates are speculated to have taken place following a speech made in parliament by UNP Parliamentarian Jaya Sri Ranga during the last parliamentary sessions.

Sri Ranga in his speech during an adjournment debate directly accused the EPDP, a constituent party in the governing UPFA, of abducting and extorting money from Tamil people in the North while threatening the judges who heard the relevant cases in court.

He has specifically mentioned the names of Chavakachcheri Magistrate T.J. Prabhakaran and Vavuniya Magistrate Alex Raja saying that they were hearing cases against members of the EPDP for alleged threats, abductions, extortion and even murders.

Sri Ranga in his speech called for the independence of the judiciary in the North saying that the judges were under constant threat by members affiliated to the government if they delivered a judgment against alleged extortion.

At the time of the transfer, Chavakachcheri Magistrate Prabhakaran was hearing a case of abduction and murder of a teenager that had taken place in Chavakachcheri during the general election period.
A 19-year-old schoolboy from the Chavakachcheri Hindu College was allegedly abducted and later killed by the group who had abducted him with the intention of extorting money.
Several EPDP members had been accused in the case and EPDP member and Jaffna Deputy Mayor T. Illango alias Regan had allegedly threatened Prabhakaran.

Meanwhile, Vavuniya Magistrate Alex Raja at the time of his transfer had been under threat and had been asked to withdraw an open warrant issued by him on several suspects in a murder case.

According to Sri Ranga, the suspects in all these cases have been identified as members of the EPDP.
EPDP Leader and Minister Douglas Devananda when contacted by The Sunday Leader on Friday (18) asked us to call him in 10 minutes and did not answer the numerous telephone calls made to his mobile phone afterwards.