Ajantha Malani, a 57 years old mother of two daughters, resides at No. 1/234, Sobitharama
Road, Nagoda, Kalutara.
21 years ago, due to a dispute between her husband and their neighbors, he was sentenced by Court, for 5 years imprisonment. His name is H. Abeysiri and his convicted number is N 36056. As revealed to the relatives
during their visits to the prisons, after detaining at Kalutara prison for three years, he was first transferred to Welikada and then to Mahara prison.
According to Malani, her family spent and lost all their assets on this lawsuit of her husband, which was heard for 18 years in the Court. The charge against him was attempted murder. The case number in the High
Court was 34/2000 and in the Court of Appeal, it was 128/2004. During these 18 years of hearing in the Court, the family hired 07 lawyers to appear on behalf of Malani’s husband. Among those 7 lawyers, there were prominent Senior Lawyers like Mohan Peiris and Harsha Arsakularatne. Two other relatives of Malani’s
husband were also sentenced to two years imprisonment and now they are released.
After the imprisonment of her husband, Malani engaged in self employment to fulfill their family needs. Before the verdict, Malani’s husband did everything to find suitable partners to their two daughters although they were very small when this unfortunate dispute had occurred.
Malani’s husband suffered from heart attack and backache. In Mahara prison he was asked to do heavy work like clearing jungle etc. Six or seven years before his imprisonment, he had a backache and the doctors
advised to wear a Gina- belt. However, the prison authorities did not permit his relatives to hand over this belt to him because it contained few small iron rods.
We all are very well aware as to how the prisoner,former army commander, Sarath Fonseka, enjoys several privileges in prison, but poor detainees like Malani’s husband are being denied even wearing an compulsory item like the Gina belt.
Another concerning matter is that the Court delays which as we have heard is even five or six years in regard to criminal cases. But, in this case, it was unbelievably 18 years. The said family had hired seven
lawyers for this 18 years Court hearing. Is it correct or acceptable to bear such burden of expenses for an ordinary poor-family like Malani’s? Where is the so called legal aid and what happened to it?
Every year, ‘World Prisoner’s Day’ is commemorated on September 12. Will on this day, the convicted, number N 36056, Malani’s husband receive a tiny privilege of wearing a Gina belt when vast privileges are being afforded to Sarath Fonseka?