Lawyer says teachers were forced to implicate Hejaaz

Wednesday, 9 June 2021 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Two Fundamental Rights petitions filed on behalf of two teachers of the Al- Zuhriya Arabic College said that two teachers were forced by the Criminal Investigations Department to implicate Attorney-at-Law Hejaaz Hizbullah.

The two petitions were filed by lawyer Erik Balasooriya was supported before the Supreme Court yesterday.

M.A. Sumanthiran PC told the court that the two teachers had told their lawyer Balasooriya during a consultation held in the presence of two CID officers who had an audio recording device, that the officers had promised “leniency” if they implicate Hizbullah.

“They were forced to implicate Hizbullah and were promised leniency and they don’t even know who Hejaaz Hizbullah is,” he told court.

Hejaaz, a prominent Human Rights Attorney-at-Law was arrested in April last year and was indicted for a speech conducted at the Arabic College.

Hizbullah has maintained that the entire case is a fabrication. Four children have filed petitions before the Supreme Court alleging coercion by the CID.

The case against Hizbullah is based on a single statement of a child who studied at the Arabic College.

A poet Ahnaf Jazeem was also arrested and kept in detention as a result of the said confessions by students.

“They were arrested only to bolster up a case and create witnesses,” Sumanthiran said.

He said that the two teachers were produced before a Magistrate only after notice of the Fundamental Rights applications were sent.

“Immediately after sending the notice which has all off this put down, they are produced. And then they are separated to different places,” he said.

The two teachers had informed the Magistrate that they intended giving statements to him.

However, immediately thereafter the prison authorities had separated the two and sent them to unknown places, Sumanthiran said.

“I say with responsibility the only reason they were separated and taken to two different paths of the country was to stop them speaking to the Magistrate,” he said.

He said that the lawyer Erik Balasooriya has sworn an affidavit of what transpired during the consultation at the CID. “The lawyer-client privilege is sacrosanct. How could they have sat on it?”

Upul Kumarapperuma appearing on behalf of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka said that they had received numerous complaints regarding the conduct of the CID.

Senior State Counsel Avanthi Perera informed court that she had to obtain instructions and accordingly the matter was re-fixed for 21 June.

M.A Sumanthiran with Ermiza Tegel and Dilan Perera appeared for the Petitioner Erik Balasooriya, Upul Kumarapperuma appeared for the BASL and Senior State Counsel Avanthi Perera appeared for the Criminal Investigations Department.