Somawathi....



Somawathi (Suspect Number 333) is now a free woman.

U. A. Somawathi was condemned to live a life of a pre trial detainee for 9 years.

On 22  February she  was released from the Welikada prison Colombo. .

She is a 45 years old mother of three children. Her husband abandoned her while she was in the prison. He was a drug addict and also engaged in drug business. Somawathi had no means of supporting herself and her family and took to selling arrack. Once she was  arrested  and released after paying a fine of Rs.10,000/=.

On 28.02.2003 she was again arrested  by four policemen attached to the Moratuwa police station. When she was arrested there was no female police officer. When the police searched her they found her to be in possession of  five small packets of  heroin. Police threatened her that they will send her to prison for 5 to 6 years. Thereafter they fabricated charges of possessing of 1100 mg of heroine and selling 100 mg of  heroine. She was produced before the Moratuwa Magistrate’s Court on 01.03.2003 and remanded until 14.03.2003.

On 30.11.2004 the court received the government analyst report after 19 dates of calling in court.. According to the report there were only 253 mg of heroine but the police charged her with the possession of 1200 mg of heroine.

On 27.12.2004 the police said that they will request  the Attorney General’s instructions on the case. The AG was unable to submit instruction in this case bearing number 51443 for over  7 years.

On 16.11.2011 for the first time a lawyer appeared for Somawathi’s case  and followed up with four other appearances. These representations and appearances were made under the Justice Maker Project. For each of these appearance the charge was Rs.10000/=. 

However these appearances were of no use. The Project advised and assisted Somawathi to write to the  AG through an affidavit, setting out the facts of her case . Somawathi did not receive any response to her letter neither did the court receive  the much waited for AG’s instructions.  

On 05.02.2011 Somawathi still in Welikada prison, wrote to the Chief Justice including her affidavit.

On 22.02.2011 the Supreme Court heard  the petition which was submitted by herself. The Bench comprised of the Hon. Chief Justice Ashoka De Silva, Hon. Justice  Shirani Thilekawardena and  Hon Justice Suresh Chandra. Somawathi was released.

Somawathi is now a free woman. However she has no home awaiting her return. After 26.12.2004 Tsunami, she doesn’t know where her children are. She is trying to find her loved ones and a peaceful life..

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