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JVP lawyers to move CA against PCoI report

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By Saman Indrajith

The JVP-led Lawyers for Democracy is planning to move the Court of Appeal against the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Political Victimisation as they claim the release of the document is tantamount to contempt of court.

Addressing the media at Solis Hall in Pitakotte yesterday former JVP Provincial Councilor Attorney-at-law Sunil Watagala said that the commission report has recommended the release of 61 persons whose cases were being heard before High Courts. “It is a known fact that matters pending before courts are sub judice and cannot be adjudicated elsewhere as the cases are in progress. The commission has done that. Along with those 61 cases, the commission report recommends the release of accused of several other cases. The commission report recommends the release of accused in 79 cases. This shows that the commission has overstepped its mandate. We are planning to challenge the commission report in the court of appeal.”

Watagala said that the President had appointed another commission to recommend that Parliament be vested with powers to implement the report of Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Political Victimization. “There were instances of hurling stones at the houses of the judges who had judgments not to the liking of government politicians. A Chief Justice was removed as she did not give in to political pressure. A former chief justice made a public apology for a judgment he had once given. It is our belief that this commission has caused an affront to the dignity of judiciary.”

Former commissioner of the Human Rights Commission senior lawyer Ghazali Hussain said: “In a case there are two parties – there is a victim and a suspect. The commission report recommends punitive actions against the victims of the cases pending before courts. This is a serious matter connected to democracy of our society. We must uphold the independence of judiciary. Judicial system should not be permitted to be influenced by the needs of political authority. As concerned citizens it is our duty to stand against this unjust act motivated by partisan politics.”

Senior Lawyer Upul Kumarapperuma said: “There is a fundamental principle in judicial matters known as natural justice. As per that principle, one cannot be the judge of his own case and both parties of a case should be listened to before any decisions. That principle is not upheld in this matter. The second requirement of the natural justice that is to listening to both parties is not maintained in the commission report. This is one sided opinion. That is the biggest weakness of this commission report.”

Attorneys-at-law Harshana Nanayakkara, Manjula Balasuriya, Akalanka Udawatte and Charith Galhena also addressed the press.



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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’

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By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam

The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.

Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.

A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.

The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.

According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.

The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.

DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners

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By Norman Palihawadane

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.

Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.

The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered

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A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.

Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.

The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.

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