Sri Lankan man spends 50 years on remand
Colombo, Sri Lanka - 14 January 2008
A Sri Lankan man has been released from prison after spending 50 years on remand, his lawyer said
DP James, now 80, was arrested in August 1958 for attacking and wounding his father with a knife.
He was sent to jail, then moved to a psychiatric hospital, and then discharged back to jail -- where
he was forgotten about.
Lawyer Dharmavijaya Seneviratne said James, who was never put on trial, was a victim of prison
"James went to jail when he was 30. He has been robbed of his youth and is now a grey-haired man
of 80 with failing eyesight," lawyer Dharmavijaya Seneviratne said.
The prisoner was only noticed last month after he fell ill and was hospitalised in Colombo, forcing
prison authorities to go through his paperwork.
The lawyer said James, originally from the small village of Ibbagamuwa, about 100km from Colombo,
did not complain about his long-running detention because he was ignorant of the law.
A local court released him last week on bail, and apologised for the "rare, pathetic incident", a court
The lawyer said compensation was now being sought.
"We are preparing the papers to file a case seeking compensation for 1,5-million rupees ($14 000)
and use the money to pay for his medical and other welfare bills," Seneviratne said.
The sum amounts to $280 for each year spent behind bars. - AFP