FR petition filed against Police and military over failure to follow due process in arrests

Saturday, 6 August 2022 00:26 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Former member of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission Ambika Satkunanathan and Former Commissioner of the Office on Missing Persons Mirak Raheem yesterday filed a petition against what they called the arbitrary, capricious, irrational and ultra vires actions of the Police and the military in arresting individuals and temporarily keeping them in secret detention, contrary to the Constitution, the rule of law and accepted international human rights norms. 

In their petition, Satkunanathan and Raheem have pointed out a series of arrests where individuals, in no identifiable uniform had made arrests while protestors were taken away in vehicles that were not identifiable as belonging to the Police. They also noted that protestors were being detained in undisclosed locations, prior to being produced before a Magistrate. 

According to the petitioners, those arrested have not been allowed to inform their next of kin about their place of detention and no arrest receipt was issued to the next of kin. “In other instances, unidentified individuals in no identifiable uniforms have conducted searches for particular individuals.” the petitioners said.

By failing to arrest persons for a clearly identifiable penal offence, by officers of the Sri Lanka Police, in clearly identifiable uniforms/insignia and also failing to inform the families of the arrest and issue arrest receipt the petitioners said the fundamental rights of those who were arrested have been violated.

The petitioners requested the courts to grant interim orders preventing the Respondents, and any other officer serving under them from carrying out any arrest and detention, contrary to the Constitution and the Law and to also direct the IGP to formulate guidelines to ensure that arbitrary arrest and secret detentions do not occur. 

The petition names the Inspector General of Police, Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms Wijedasa Rajapakshe, Minister of Public Security Tiran Alles, Army Commander Major General Vikum Liyanage, Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force Air Marshall S.K. Pathirana, Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, the Office on Missing Persons and the Attorney General as Respondents.