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PTA: PCoI wants it brought in line with laws in other countries, including UK

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A Presidential Commission of Inquiry for Appraisal of the Findings of Previous Commissions and Committees on Human Rights and the Way Forward has stated that the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) shouldn’t be repealed.

The Commission has said that it couldn’t agree with calls for repealing the PTA and Sri Lanka’s anti-terrorism law should be reformed in line with similar laws in other countries, including the UK.

The following is the text of a statement issued by the Presidential Media Division: “The Presidential Commission of Inquiry for Appraisal of the Findings of Previous Commissions and Committees on Human Rights and the Way Forward handed over its Interim Report to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat Tuesday evening (20).

The President in extraordinary gazettes issued on January 21 and February 12, 2021 appointed members to the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) to investigate, inquire into and report or take necessary actions on findings of preceding Commissions or Committees appointed to investigate into human rights violations, serious violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and other such offences.

The Commission is chaired by Supreme Court Judge A. H.M.D. Nawaz, and its other members are retired Inspector General of Police Chandra Fernando, retired District Secretary Nimal Abeysiri and former Mayor of Jaffna Yogeswari Patkunarajah.

The Commission which is not in agreement with the calls to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), highlights in the interim report that the PTA should be reformed in line with the laws against the prevention of terrorism in other countries including in the UK.

The Commission, which has paid special attention to the Provisions 9, 11 and 13 of the PTA, has made three key recommendations in its interim report with regard to the implementation of the PTA in a more democratic manner.

The Commission highlighted the possibility to expedite the hearing of cases of those who are being detained for a minimum of three months or a longer period under the provision 9 of the PTA by filing indictments against them and to confine the detainees to their own homes or the residential area under special security instead of detaining them in prisons in line with the provision 11 of the PTA.

The Commission, in its Interim Report, proposes the importance of establishing an Advisory Board consisting of not less than three persons representing all ethnic groups, to advise the President or the Minister in charge of Defence under the provision 13 of the PTA.

It is the policy of the Government to work with the United Nations and its agencies to ensure accountability and human resource development in order to achieve lasting peace and reconciliation.

The Government is committed to providing solutions for the issues to be resolved within the democratic and legal process and to ensure justice and reconciliation by implementing necessary institutional reforms.

The Presidential Commission of Inquiry for Appraisal of the Findings of Previous Commissions and Committees and the Way Forward has been mandated to handover its final report in the next six months.

Secretary to the President P.B. Jayasundera, Additional Secretary to the President T.T. Upulmalee, Foreign Secretary Admiral Jayanath Colombage and the Director-General of Legal Affairs of the Presidential Secretariat, Hariguptha Rohanadheera were also present.”



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MP’s wife, father-in-law among three detained

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Rishad held under PTA to be questioned

16-year-old girl’s death:

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Police investigating the death of 16-year-old Ishalini, the domestic servant at All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) leader Rishad Bathiudeen’s Baudhaloka Mawatha residence have arrested Ayesha Shiabdeen, 46, the wife of the former minister.

Police also took into custody Rishad’s father-in-law Mohammed Shiabdeen, 70, and Ponnaiah Pandaram alias Shankar, 64, a resident of Dayagama.

Police Spokesman Senior DIG Ajith Rohana said that Shankar had brought Ilashini from Dayagama to the Baudhaloka Mawatha residence of Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) Vanni District lawmaker late last year.

Having studied the post postmortem report, they were taken into custody in terms of Section 360 C and Section 308 B of the Penal Code that dealt with human trafficking and cruelty to children, the top police officer said. According to him, so far 20 statements had been recorded.

Asked whether MP Bathiudeen, too, had been among the questioned, Senior DIG Rohana said the parliamentarian detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) over 2019 Easter Sunday carnage, too, would be interrogated in that regard.

The ACMC contested the last general election on the SJB ticket. It switched its allegiance to the SJB ahead of 2020 general election after having represented the cabinet in UNP led yahapalana administration. Rishad has also served President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s cabinet during his second term.

Having suffered serious burn injuries on July 3 at the MP’s residence and admitted to the National Hospital, Illashini succumbed to her injuries on July 15th. Medical examination revealed that she had been raped over a period of time.

The police spokesman said that they intended to secure court approval to detain the suspects for 72 hours. A Superintendent of Police could obtain such approval on the strength of a B report submitted to the court in respect of offenses on children.

Although, the police indicated earlier in the day they would be produced in Colombo Magistrate court they weren’t brought in.

Meanwhile, the SJB said that interested parties were making a despicable attempt to politicize the incident. The police should be allowed to conduct the investigation without interference, a spokesman for the main Opposition party said.

 

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Women’s organisations in North conduct protests demanding justice for Ilashini

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A section of those engaged in Jaffna protests

 

By Dinasena Ratugamage

Women’s organisations in the North yesterday held a number of demonstrations in Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi and Jaffna against the death of J. Ilashini, the 16 -year-old girl who died while working at SJB MP Rishad Bathiudeen’s residence.

The protesters urged authorities to ensure that investigations into the death are conducted in a transparent manner. The family of the victim should be compensated and those guilty punished, they said.

Representatives of the organisations said that if justice was not done, they would hold a massive demonstration in Tarapuram, Mannar, which Bathiudeen represents in Parliament.

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Dancer lodges complaint with police over FB post 

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Police headquarters yesterday (23) said that dancer Anusha Damayanthi had lodged a complaint with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) over a Facebook post alleging that she was running a brothel.

Police headquarters said that Damayanthi, while denying the accusation, had also brought to the CID’s notice that a minister was being accused of lambasting the Walana anti-crime strike force for carrying out the raid. Police said that an investigation was underway.

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