Moves to arrest Harin in violation of Parliamentary privileges: Sajith

Saturday, 24 April 2021 00:56 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Opposition Leader visits Harin in hospital 
  • Pledges he and other SJB Parliamentarians will stand by Fernando

By Asiri Fernando

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday warned that the Government would be in breach of Parliamentary privileges if Parliamentarian Harin Fernando was arrested over controversial statements made recently regarding the Easter attacks and said all Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) members stood by him.

Premadasa made the comments in Parliament. 

Earlier in the day he paid a visit to Nawaloka Hospital to inquire into the wellbeing of SJB MP Harin Fernando, who is undergoing treatment. Premadasa was joined by fellow SJB MP Manusha Nanayakkara.

“If Harin Fernando is to be arrested, I as the Leader of the SJB and all our MPs will go along with him,” stressed Premadasa, adding the Opposition MPs would stand together with MP Fernando.

The visit came after Fernando was summoned by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) last morning to record a statement in relation to controversial statements he made regarding the Easter Sunday bombings.  The Opposition Leader accused the Government of ignoring the privileges of Members of Parliament by trying to summon MP Fernando. Premadasa charged that the Government was trying to arrest MP Fernando under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) in order to silence him.

“We in the SJB want the masterminds behind the Easter Sunday attacks and all those involved in it to be brought to book and given the maximum penalty. To that effect, MP Harin Fernando disclosed a number of facts before Parliament last week, including some information that was not reported before. He did so to bring justice to the victims of the attack. However, now we hear that he is to be summoned before the CID and arrested that under the Prevention of Terrorism Act,” Premadasa said. 

Premadasa also argued that the Government could not simply hold a suspect in custody for a long time and claim that he was the mastermind behind the attacks, calling for a scientific investigation to be conducted to determine those behind the attacks.

MP Manusha Nanayakkara also condemned the move to question MP Fernando, pointing out it was in violation of Parliament’s Powers and Privileges Act.