AG assures visiting rights to relatives

AG assures visiting rights to relatives


The Attorney General yesterday (22) undertook to grant relatives of the detained retired army officers who are loyalists of the defeated Opposition Common Presidential Candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka access to their loved ones in prison on Saturdays between 9.00 a.m. and 12.00 noon as well as on Wednesdays.

The detainees were also told they would have access to their counsel upon obtaining permission from the Director of the Terrorist Investigation Division, Senior State Counsel submitted.

He submitted the copies of the Detention Orders before Court while copies of the said orders were also given to the Counsel for the Petitioners.

The matter came up before a Bench comprising Justices Shirani A. Bandaranayake, N.G. Amaratunga and P.A. Ratnayake. Petitioners moved to amend the papers subject to any objections from the Attorney Generals Department. President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva appeared for the Petitioner retired Lt. Col. Rohan Gotabhaya Wijesundara while Chrismal Warnasuriya appeared for retired Lt. Col. Kapila Senathi Ratnayake. The cases were listed to be taken up on February 26.

Attorneys-at-Law Viran Corea, Riad Ameen and Chrismal Warnasuriya also appeared for the other retired army personnel M.D.S.N.K. Mallimarachchi, Vijitha Kodippili, Dharmasekera Attanayake, Prabath Samarakoon, K.D.N. Ariyaratne and Upali Jayanetti separately. These cases were listed to be supported on March 4.

The Supreme Court last Friday (19) directed that the detained army officers, who were arrested from the office of the Common Opposition Presidential Candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka, be given access to lawyers last Sunday from 10.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. after several fundamental rights violation petitions were filed. There had been 18 petitions filed and 10 petitioners had been discharged as a result but another 8 are still in detention.

They cited DIG Nandana Munasinghe of the CID, IGP Mahinda Balasooriya and the Attorney General as Respondents. They allege that their fundamental rights to equality and equal protection of the law, freedom from discrimination on grounds of political opinion, freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, freedom of speech and expression as well as freedom of association had been infringed by the acts of the Respondents.

They also sought Court to suspend the operation of their purported arrest/detention and release them unconditionally and/or on such conditions deemed appropriate to Court. The Petitioners stated that following the decision of the Gen. (Rtd) Sarath Fonseka to contest the recently concluded Presidential Election as the Common Opposition Candidate and upon being reliably informed that his security had been curtailed and/or was insufficient vis-a-vis the perceived threat on his life, the petitioners had actively engaged themselves in ensuring his safety and security.

Following the declaration of the results of the said election on January 29, whilst the Petitioners were engaged in providing the above services at the election propaganda office of Gen. Fonseka at Rajakeeya Mawatha, Colombo 7, officers attached to and/or acting under the authority or direction of DIG Nandana Munasinghe purported to apprehend them, placed them under arrest and continued to hold them in detention which petitioners plead is unlawful, the Petition said.

It is alleged that no reason whatsoever had been given to them for their purported arrest and/or detention, at the point of apprehension or thereafter.

/ English

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