- Says Attorneys have complained to BASL on recent arrests
- Arrested suspects taken away in unidentifiable vehicles and persons
- Asks IGP to advise Police to adhere to procedures strictly
The Bar Association of Sri Lanka writing to IGP C.D. Wickramaratne has called on the Police Chief to ensure all arrests by the Police take place according to accepted legal procedures. The BASL noted
|IGP C.D. Wickramaratne
that Attorneys have complained to the organisation relating to arrests and detentions being carried out without adherence to due process.
“The Bar Association of Sri Lanka has received complaints from its members and the Colombo Magistrate’s Court Lawyers’ Association on the arrests of persons by Police officers dressed in civilian clothing and without possessing any identification,” the BASL told the IGP.
Referring to three incidents of arrest as examples, the BASL said it is alleged that persons who have been arrested were taken away in unidentifiable vehicles and kept for several hours at undisclosed locations.
“On these occasions, no receipts of arrest have been issued nor an opportunity given to the persons arrested to inform relatives, friends or lawyers of their whereabouts.” It said that those arrested were even deprived of access to Attorneys-at-Law and the Human Rights Commission for a few hours.
“We are also informed that on several occasions Attorneys-at-Law appearing for suspects were not properly informed or given misleading information on suspects in custody and on the time that they will be produced in Courts. These have resulted in them being deprived of legal representation and due process especially when they were produced at the residence of a Magistrate during late hours,” it added.
While the letter also draws the attention of IGP Wickramaratne to some of the provisions of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance Act, No. 5 of 2018, the BASL said it is of utmost importance that Police officers carrying out arrests identify themselves at the time of arrest and allow persons arrested to immediately communicate with their relatives, friends or their Attorneys-at-Law of their whereabouts.
Accordingly, the BASL called on the IGP as Head of the Sri Lanka Police to immediately ensure that all arrests are carried out strictly according to procedures established by law and that necessary instructions are given to all Police officers on the matter.