Former Western Province Governor and National Unity Alliance leader, Azath Salley yesterday complained to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) that his fundamental rights had been violated by actions of former Attorney General Dappula de Livera and Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekara.
In a letter to the Chairperson of HRCSL, Salley said: “I was arrested on the 16th of March 2021 and held in both executive and judicial detention for a period of close to nine months.
“Prior to my arrest, the Minister of Public Security Sarath Weerasekera, during a speech in Parliament, threatened to arrest me for views expressed by me at a press conference.
“I was arrested on the 16th of March 2021, on the instructions of the Attorney General Dappula de Livera PC, purportedly on the views expressed by me at the Weekly Press Briefing of my Party, the National Unity Alliance on the 9th of March 2021.
“The edited and manipulated version of my Press Briefing, aired and publicised by certain Sections of the Sinhala Media, formed the basis of my arrest and produced before the Magistrate’s Court of Colombo on 23rd of June 2021 and indictment served in the High Court of Colombo in October 2021, after holding me in unlawful detention for over nine months.
“The Learned Magistrate of Colombo on the 14th of September 2021, held that the full version of the Press Briefing, does not in any manner or form implicate me in any crime.
“In the High Court of Colombo, the Learned High Court judge on the 2nd of December 2021, acquitted me of all charges contained in the indictment, without even calling for my defence. Moreover, the Learned High Court judge also clearly specified that the views expressed at the Press Briefing, in fact did not cause any ill feeling or offence to any community.
“My complaint to the Honourable Commission is that the Attorney General’s Department, instructed by the Attorney General Dappula de Livera PC, failed to exercise due diligence, before arresting and indicting me on fabricated evidence, and thereby failed in their public duty.
“Had they been open and acted fairly and only taken the trouble to view the entire Press Briefing, they would have saved innocent taxpayers money and the credibility of the Department in the eyes of my aggrieved community, and the entire Nation.
“Based on the Judgments delivered by the Learned Judges, and the agony I went through the nine months of incarceration, I am compelled to form the opinion that: Dappula De Livera and all officers working under his authority who directly or indirectly were a party to the decision to call for my arrest, incarceration and indictment and the Minister of Public Security Sarath Weerasekara, who prior to the said arrest threatened me with arrest have Violated my Fundamental Rights as a Citizen of this country, guaranteed by Article 11, 12 (1), 13 and 14 (1) of the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
“I, as an aggrieved party, call upon the Commission to immediately inquire into the violations of my Fundamental Rights as enshrined in Chapter Three of our Constitution being one of the principal reasons for establishing the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka under the Human Rights Commission Act 21 of 1996.
“The Attorney General’s Department, which should protect us from injustice, should not be used by Political Powers to perpetuate injustice.”
President orders probe into judge’s resignation
By Saman Indrajith
President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is currently in Berlin, yesterday ordered his Secretary Saman Ekanayake to launch a probe into the resignation of Mullaitivu District Judge and Magistrate, T. Saravanarajah, who heard the controversial Kurundimale temple case. The judge has cited receiving death threats as the reason for his resignation.
Judge Saravanarajah had not informed either the police or the Judicial Service Commission of the alleged death threats to him, sources said.
In a letter dated 23 September, 2023, addressed to the Judicial Services Commission, Judge T. Saravanarajah conveyed his decision to step down from various judicial roles including District Judge, Magistrate, Family Court Judge,
Primary Court Judge, Small Claims Court Judge, and Juvenile Court Judge.President’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake held discussions on the judge’s resignation with Minister of Justice Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and Minister of Public Security Tiran Alles. It was revealed that the judge had not lodged any formal complaint of the alleged death threats prior to his resignation.
China pledges steadfast support to Sri Lanka
China will continue to firmly support Sri Lanka in pursuing a development path that suits its own national conditions, getting rid of the “poverty trap” and the “trap of non-development”, and safeguarding its independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity, Ambassador Qi Zhenhong said at the 74th National Day Reception of the People’s Republic of China on Thursday.
Given below are excerpts of the Chinese Ambassador’s speech: “Right now, changes of the world, of our times and of history are unfolding in ways like never before, which leads to rapidly growing uncertainty, instability and unpredictability.
In view of these global challenges, President Xi Jinping has put forward three crucial global initiatives, namely the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative. We urge all countries to respect each other, seek common ground while reserving differences, and work together to meet the challenges of our times and build a community with a shared future for mankind.
“This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping. Over the past 10 years under the BRI cooperation, more than 150 countries, including Sri Lanka, and 32 international organizations, have made great progress in connectivity, infrastructure, trade, and investment, with about 3,100 joint projects bringing tangible benefits to the world. As the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, I am more than happy to highlight the major projects between our two countries, such as the Katunayake Expressway, the Southern Expressway, the CICT, the Hambantota Port and the Port City Colombo, etc.
“No matter how the world changes, China and Sri Lanka are good neighbours with mutual respect and trust, good partners with mutual benefit, and good friends who help each other. China’s friendly policy towards Sri Lanka is for all political parties and all people of Sri Lanka and maintains continuity and stability. In the past decades, many landmarks, such as the BMICH, the Supreme Court Complex, the Nelum Pokuna Theatre, the Polonnaruwa Kidney Disease Hospital and the National Hospital Out-Patient Department Building, have been gifted by the Chinese people to the Sri Lankan people.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, especially when Sri Lanka was faced with the economic challenges last year, China has been supporting Sri Lanka to the best of its ability. It includes not only providing emergency assistance from all walks of life in China, but also being the first to reach out to Sri Lanka to properly deal with its debt issues.
More importantly, China will continue to firmly support Sri Lanka in pursuing a development path that suits its own national conditions, getting rid of the “poverty trap” and the “trap of non-development”, and safeguarding its independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity.”
Justice Minister sees police, judiciary and lawyers coming short on ensuring justice for all
The way the police, judiciary and lawyers operate had left much to be desired in ensuring justice for all, Minister of Justice Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said at the National Law Week – 2023 celebrations yesterday.
Dr. Rajapakshe said that in a country with the rule of law, all citizens felt they had access to justice. The Minister said that the country faced a severe economic crisis in 2022. The breakdown of the rule of law was a major reason for the economic crisis, the Justice Minister said.
Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya said at the same event that people needed to understand the roles and functions of the judiciary, police, mediation boards and other institutions of justice in order to obtain a satisfactory service.
“These institutions are there to ensure everyone has equal access to justice. If these institutions were not there, the rich and the powerful would always get their way,” the CJ said.
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