Saturday, September 24, 2016

Yoshitha's request postpones until the 28th

Yoshitha's request postpones until the 28th

Sep 23, 2016

For money laundering offence former President's son Yoshitha Rajapaksa is on bail term allowed by the High courts.

He had made an application to travel abroad.Whether his travel is to be allowed or not was paid attention to when the case was heard at the High courts today the 22nd instant. This decision whether to grant him permission or not would be notified to him on the 28th instant the related authorities of the High court had quipped.

This decision had been conveyed  by the High court Judge AAR Heiyyantuduwa the intructionsof the Attorney General.The request was to travel to Melbourne in Australia to take treatment to an injury that had occurred to Yoshitha while playing Rugger.

For this purpose the permission is sought for one month. Yoshitha Rajapaksa  has been released on bail from the case of  the money laundering offence

SRI LANKA: Supreme Court Judgments on torture and the State’s failure to protect those in custody

Protestors demanded that the police help them recover the Rs1 million the deceased had lent to their assailants. DESIGN: ALI DARAB
By Basil Fernando-September 23, 2016
AHRC LogoOne more judgement from the Supreme Court, on torture by the Sri Lankan police, was added to a long list of such judgements, when the Supreme Court decided in favour of a petition filed by W.N.L.K. Fernando of Naththandiya Police against officers attached to the Wennapuwa Police Station [S.C.F.R. Application No. 612/09].
The Supreme Court decided that three of the police officers have, in fact, violated the rights of the petitioner guaranteed under Article 11 of the Constitution by assaulting petitioner Fernando. The Court ordered the three police officers to pay the Petitioner Rupees 35,000 each, i.e. Rupees 105,000 in total, out of their own pockets. The Court rejected the version of the Respondent police officers that the injuries on the petitioner might have been caused in the course of the petitioner’s attempt to resist arrest. The Court instead accepted the version of the petitioner – supported by medical evidence – that the injuries were consistent with the petitioner’s version of the events.
The Supreme Court has pronounced similar judgements, finding police officers having committed torture, on many occasions. However, there is no indication of any significant improvement of police behaviour despite these judgments.
The recent incidents of reports of deaths of persons while in police custody also highlights that there are very serious problems relating to the execution of duties by the police, who are obligated to protect the suspects they arrest.
When a person is arrested, the officers act on behalf of the Sri Lankan State. At the point of securing arrest, the officers are expected to act as the guardians of persons who have been arrested. Many stories of torture and ill-treatment heard from around the country indicate that the Sri Lankan police officers have not acquired a basic understanding of their role when they act on behalf of the State in taking a citizen in custody.
What is seen instead is a generalised practice of treating a person taken into police custody as a lesser human being or a non human being. It is this perception that needs to be scrutinised carefully by the government, by the officers of the police hierarchy, as well as those in charge of all other institutions created for the purpose of ensuring the proper carrying out of the duties of the state, which are, in this regard, ensure the protection of citizens, and non-citizens, taken into police custody for the limited purpose of facilitating inquiries into crimes. The National Police Commission and the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka are among such institutions which have special obligations to ensure such protection.
A close examination of the way arrests are made quite often, and the way those taken into custody are being treated in the course of many such investigations, creates the impression that the officers often have no appreciation of their own roles as protectors. The impression one gets is a relationship between a predator and a prey, rather than a protector and a person who is under such person’s protection. Of course, this is not the case in all cases of arrest and detention. Well publicised inquiries that are conducted by some agencies, like Financial Crimes Investigations Department, where the suspects are powerful persons, such as politicians and businessmen, there is a clear indication of a different type of behaviour. None of those persons involved in high profile cases, have yet complained of torture, ill-treatment, or even impolite behaviour towards them.
Thus, the kind of relationship which looks like that of a predator and prey is mostly in cases handled at the police stations, and also quite often regarding persons who are generally referred to as the ordinary folk. The way many police officers seem to understand the ‘ordinary folk’, is in seeing them as ‘nobodies’. There is a kind of perception that these nobodies should be treated roughly and with no show of kindness. A civilised treatment of suspects seems almost regarded as being counterproductive.
It is this mentality, exercised mainly towards the common folk, that should receive careful examination, sociologically, psychologically, and also from the perspective of what the proper behaviour of public institutions towards all citizens should be. It is in that regard, that the role of the police hierarchy in moulding the behaviour of officers who work for their institutions need to be clearly examined. When there is a general practice of such improper behaviour towards persons who should in fact be treated with special consideration, due to the obligation of protection, it is justified to conclude that there are serious failures on the part of those in charge of such institutions.
The failure of those exercising leadership becomes even more glaring when one considers that the issues involved relate to violations of constitutional rights of the people. To expect protection is a constitutional right. When there is widespread practice of violations of constitutional rights, within a public institution, those in charge of such an institution, cannot plead ignorance or innocence.
In some instances, such as custodial deaths, murder is involved. It is easy to carry out a tug-of-war, whether a particular custodial death is a murder or not; in this tug-of-war, the ordinary citizen does not have the same power-to-pull, as the authorities and the institution have. On occasions of custodial deaths, powerful attempts are made to create the impression that there is no foul play involved. It is not within the power of the average citizen to fight with such powerful forces to ensure that proper and fair inquiries are being conducted on such occasions. Often, the inquirers themselves are the high-ranking officers of the same institution, for example, ASPs or SSPs. In fact, if these officers carry out their obligations in the right manner, to ensure that the subordinates under their charge carry out the duties of protection, as required by the Constitution, such unfortunate incidents are unlikely to happen.
Therefore, there is not only an obligation on the part of the high-ranking officers for having allowed the existence of failures in the exercise of protection functions, they also play the same role, in prevention of proper and fair inquiries. Having a fair inquiry is the citizen’s last resort after everything has stood against his advantage. Under the present circumstances, it is not possible honestly to state that even this last resort, exists for individuals who suffer such unfortunate deaths in police custody.
Problems relating to denial of protection for citizens are a fundamental failure in the duties of the State. The very fact that the Supreme Court has itself, on so many occasions, pointed to this failure, in judgements relating to violations under Article 11 of the Constitution, is a strong enough argument to expose existing failures. Whether the State takes the message of such judgments seriously is a matter on which an unequivocal answer in the affirmative cannot be given in the present context.

On The Concepts Of Federalism & Secularism

Colombo Telegraph
By Surendra Ajit Rupasinghe –September 23, 2016
Surendra Ajit Rupasinghe
Surendra Ajit Rupasinghe
It is simply amazing how the very mention of these concepts in an open discourse on constitutional reform would immediately trigger frenzied, robotic responses from learned professors and self-appointed pundits. The response from Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka to Madam Chandrika’s remarks on the subject is instinctual, political and vituperative, and deliberately distorted and misleading.
His argument has three main points. First, that federalism inherently contains the element of separatism. This is empirically unsupported, as in classic examples such as the US, India, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland etc. Not perfect examples, but where there is some degree of social cohesion, in spite of severe national and ethnic oppression in some cases. The second aspect of the argument that Sri Lanka is just too small a country to afford federalism is purely prejudiced and anti-democratic. When we deal with a question of an oppressed nation seeking liberation, the guiding criteria is not the size, but the democratic essence of the demand for dignity, equality, security, autonomy and democratic freedom. But, we cannot expect such a profound vision of democracy from a sycophantic, careerist, ideological agent of a rabidly chauvinist camp as that led by Mahinda Rajapaksa. Mahinda Rajapaksa’s credibility as a ‘patriot and defender’ of the Sinhala-Buddhist Nation has been completely and irrevocably demolished by his very own act of ‘betrayal’ when he bribed Prabhakaran to the tune of millions, which massive funds the latter would have used to grease up his war machine to kill Sinhala-Buddhist soldiers and civilians. He also gunned down unarmed Sinhala civilians who were exercising the fundamental right of democratic protest- the very same guns that killed unarmed Tamil civilians. Also, the attempted coup by him to suppress the presidential election results shows to what extent he would go to betray the sovereignty of the people, including the Sinhala Buddhist nation, simply to entrench his dynastic rule and dictatorship through perpetuity. The third major point of argument is that Federalism would certainly play into the hands of an expansionist Tamil Nadu. This is just fear-mongering designed to incite and mobilize his tribal-feudal, chauvinist political base and score points for his Master. There certainly could be such grand designs by some Tamil Nadu politicians. Precisely for the reason that foreign powers could and do play dirty politics with the Tamil nation that it must be decisively determined on a sustainable democratic basis. Indeed and in fact, it is the denial and violent suppression of nationhood and the attendant right of self-determination that has led to the politics of separatism and paved the way for foreign powers, including India, to sink their fangs into the lifelines of the people and the country. None are so blind as those who have eyes but refuse to see.
Towards a Transcending Solution
I have initiated a new framework and approach for resolving the Tamil National Question, sponsored by the Inter-Religious Peace Foundation in the form of a ‘Citizen’s Initiative for Constitutional Reform’. This new paradigm positively transcends the mutually exclusive polarities between a Federal State and a Unitary State. I have suggested a formula that calls for a Second Chamber constitutionally entrenched and empowered to protect the national-democratic rights of all nationalities, which would also elicit a constitutional pledge to a democratically constituted State. This would allay all fears of separation and provide a basis for all nationalities to enjoy parity of status, dignity, security and autonomy, as equal and indivisible partners and architects of a modern, unified democratic State. I have suggested that this would provide a solid and principled basis to forge a united, indivisible and integrated Sri Lankan Nation, to be forged on a voluntary basis. It is also a remedy against the ‘tyranny of the majority’. There are no perfect solutions. But we must strive to move forward and away from the dark era of enforced subordination, communal violence and war, which has violated and defiled us all and robbed us of our collective dignity and humanity.

Colombo’s Quest for Peace after Long War


A shift in focus from the use of hard power to soft power on global issues, is a feather in the cap of the Sri Lanka Army. The Lankan country is fast moving towards peace and stability, and is without an enemy

by Ashok K Mehta

( September 23, 2016, New Delhi, Sri Lanka Guardian) This month, the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) held its annual defence seminar in Colombo, shifting focus from the use of hard power — in which alongwith the Navy and the Air Force, it excelled, though at some cost — to soft power on global issues. Lest we forget, the SLA defeated the two-decade-long Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna insurgency in the south in 1990 and the deadly Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) after a 30-year long campaign in the north in 2009, both with some help from India.
Few militaries have succeeded in subduing an insurgency and terrorism; Sri Lankan security forces have uniquely outclassed others by eliminating root and branch, a rural and urban insurgency, contributing profitable takeaways, especially post-conflict, where the thrust was on five R’s — Reconstruction, Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Reintegration, and the big R, Reconciliation.
The mastermind of the earlier conferences was the indomitable former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, popularly called Gota, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s enormously powerful younger brother, a retired Colonel from the famous Gajaba Regiment. Not a leaf moved without his nod. With a regime change in 2015, the unthinkable happened on September1, ironically the day the conference opened. Instead of Gota inaugurating the event, as he used to till 2014, his arch enemy from the Sinha Regiment, now Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, whom he got dismissed and imprisoned, lit the lamp. Ignominiously, Gota was in the spotlight on the front pages of national dailies charged by the bribery commission in a Colombo court for corruption. The question doing the rounds in Colombo is: Will Gota go to jail? Gota, alongwith Rajapaksa and Army Chief General Fonseka, are the three architects of the war victory.
Coinciding with the seminar was President Maithripala Sirisena’s statement that the defeats of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and war-winning leader Rajapaksa paved the way for a lasting solution of the national question of reconciliation. He also said that the previous Government had caused serious damage to the country’s relations with the UN and the West, which were being repaired by his Government. Though visiting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said encouraging words on the peace process, he touched a raw nerve by comparing what the Sri Lankan Security Force (SLSF) calls a humanitarian operation in the last phase of the war with Rwanda and Srebrenica. Notwithstanding the extreme comparison, Sri Lanka is moving towards peace, stability and reconciliation and is without an enemy.
After the end of the Cold War, Britain’s Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Field Marshal Lord Edwin Bramall, told me: “We have no enemy now, we have to find one.” Bar an isolated incident involving two LTTE in the Kilinochchi jungles in 2013 and the threat of violent protests by the Tamil diaspora like the one faced by a Sri Lankan diplomat in Malaysia (it was intended for Rajapaksa), Sri Lanka, despite the 12,800 hardcore LTTE deradicalised and integrated into society, the LTTE’s resurgence is remote. According to Sara De Silva, the counter-terrorism expert at Kotelawala Defence University, the revival of the LTTE is only notional, compelling the SLA to chivvy its soft power for remaining relevant and productive.
The absence of a military challenge has activated thinking on ‘rightsizing’ the nearly 200,000 SLA, but no troop reduction is contemplated for now, though the military is no longer on the privileged pedestal given to it during the Rajapaksa period. The military is engaged in nation-building and in aid to civil authority with its soft power skills that no other institution in the country is endowed with. Flood and landslide relief, which is common, road-building, housing and repair works are some examples of military assistance to the civil society. The military is gainfully running holiday homes, tourist resorts, golf courses and other lucrative missions in the North-East. Three thousand acres of land has been returned and 7,000 acres is still with the military. Cantonments are likely to come up in war-affected zones. The visibility of SLA has reduced and northeners are enjoying much greater freedoms than any time in the past.
New opportunities lie in UN peace-keeping and international de-mining missions. At present, more than 5,000 Army and police personnel are deployed on five missions. A new mission to Mali will entail despatch of 750 officers and troops. Sri Lanka has the potential to provide at least two more counter-insurgency-weathered battalions. Defence cooperation with the US is the centre-piece of improving relations with the West. Between July 24 and August 23, 13 Marine Expeditionary Unit, a Pacific Command delegation and USS Frank Cable, a naval submarine visited Sri Lanka. A week-long exercise Pacific Angel, by Pacific Command and regional military experts, was held in the northern Province as a medical and humanitarian assistance programme.
Historically, India maintains the lead in defence assistance and military training programmes with Colombo, bagging around 1,500 slots in training institutions. Service-to-service, inter-Coast Guard and Ministry of Defence level interactions are held regularly to deepen and strengthen military cooperation, including construction of naval ships for Sri Lanka by Indian dockyards. The Indian Ocean has become the regional centre of geo-strategic gravity and Sri Lanka commands passage across the crucial sea lanes of communication. US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Atul Keshap said the 21st century is in many ways, the Indo-Pacific century and Sri Lanka is well poised to take advantage of its strategic location. While New Delhi is shifting gear from continental mindset to an Indian Ocean maritime strategy, Sri Lanka, having vanquished the LTTE, is rightly poised to augment its naval capability. A Chinese submarine surfacing twice in Colombo in 2014 created ripples in New Delhi-Colombo relations and remains the red rag to a bull.
It is in this context that India Foundation invited Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to Singapore to deliver the keynote address on the Global Power Transition in the Indian Ocean. He advocated an Indian Ocean order with accepted rules and code of conduct to upholding the freedom of navigation (by avoiding the conflict and confusion in East and South China Seas). Like Lakshman Kadirgamar’s famous definition of South Asia highlighted India’s centrality, Wickremesinghe has underlined India’s rise and South Asia’s domination of the Indian Ocean.
Ashok_K_MehtaTwo hundred ships pass every day below Galle and Hambantota ports of Sri Lanka. Its Navy, having sunk 10 LTTE ships between 2005 to 2007, is battle-hardened to monitor crucial sea lanes, but with more reach and teeth. The annual Galle Dialogue in November can determine the Indian Ocean regime with the requisite ingredients of hard and soft power.

Ashok K Mehta is a retired Lt General of the Indian Army. He writes extensively on defence matters and anchors Defence Watch on Doordarshan, India’s premier TV channel. 


( Fr. Sathiveil, leading the campaign for the release of political prisoners, Aug 2016 Colombo ©s.deshapriya)
Sri Lanka Brief23/09/2016

The Tamil National Alliance welcomes the announcement by the government that a further twenty-three political prisoners will be released through the process of rehabilitation.

This is in keeping with the promise given to Leader of the Opposition Mr. R. Sampanthan and TNA Jaffna District M.P. and Spokesperson M.A. Sumanthiran at a meeting held at Temple Trees on the August 26, 2016 with Minister of Justice Wijayadasa Rajapaksa, Minister of Law and Order Sagala Rathnayaka, the Attorney General and other High Officials. We urge the government to continue this process of re-evaluation and release the rest of the political prisoners also without delay.
I have handed over a list of corrupt officials to BC: Ranjan


Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake on Wednesday (21) said he had given a list that contains the names of several ministers and opposition MPs who were engaged in corrupt activities to the Bribery Commission. 

Speaking during the debate on the motion to increase remuneration to the heads of independent commissions in Parliament, the Deputy Minister said he would continue to talk about these ministers and MPs. 

"I will name these MPs even though their names are expunged from the Hansard. Expunging their names from the Hansard will not stop our message from reaching the people" he said.

 "There are MPs who used to come to Parliament in taxis in the past but own helicopters and homes in Dubai," he said, adding that some members of Parliament even own apple orchards in Australia.

 He also advised journalists who gather at the Bribery Commission to cover a story to be watchful as many government MPs who called over to be interrogated often slip out the back entrance without being noticed. 

The MP said institutions that deals with corruption should be strengthened further as this would deter those who plan to rob public funds from engaging in such criminal acts.

 Mr Ramanayake lauded some judges and criticized others. " Some judges surreptitiously grant bail to those who are corrupt in the middle of the night," he alleged. (Yohan Perera and Kelum Bandara) 

SAITM Says They Don’t Have Wasim Thajudeen’s Skeletal Remains

Colombo Telegraph
September 23, 2016
In a new twist to the Wasim Thajudeen murder case, South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) Chairman Dr. Neville Fernando has said that his institute does not possess any skeletal remains of the late ruggerite, who was murdered.
Dr. Neville Fernando
Dr. Neville Fernando
In a statement issued, Fernando said, “SAITM records do not reveal that any specimen of the late Mr. Wasim Thajudeen was sent to the institution. SAITM states no authority has visited the institution or inspected any specimens that are in its custody, to date.”
Fernando however assured that he and his institute were willing to co-operate in any investigation and give access to its available specimens which according to Fernando are taken over following due and established process and are documented, supervised and certified by the relevant authorities.
“Such specimens at SAITM are securely kept in its museum and are used for teaching purposes only,” the statement said.
Fernando’s statement comes just days after the CID informed the Court that Thajudeen’s missing skeletal remains were at SAITM. According to the CID, ex-JMO Ananda Samarasekera had sent some of the Thajudeen skeletal remains to SAITM in Malabe.
In August, Health Ministry Secretary Anura Jayawickrema in a report submitted to the Colombo Additional Magistrate said that ex-JMO was responsible for the missing body parts of Thajudeen’s body. Jayawickrema said that Samarasekera had acted in an irresponsible manner when conducting the first postmortem, in which Samarasekera ruled Thajudeen’s death was due to an accident. The ex-JMO had later claimed that he had handed over the body parts to two minor staff to store in a freezer but both staff members had denied this.

Call to Indian Govt. to Release Parvez

Call to Indian government to release detained human rights defender Khurram Parvez 

Human rights activist Khurram Parvez
The following statement issued by the Sri Lankan Human Rights groups and civil society members 

( September 23, 2016, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) We, the under mentioned Sri Lankan citizens and organizations express our serious concern over the arrest and detention of the Mr. Khurram Parvez, Chairperson of the Asian Federation against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) and Program Coordinator of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS).
Mr. Parvez was barred by immigration authorities in Delhi airport from boarding his flight to Geneva to attend the UN Human Rights Council’s 33rd Session on 14th September. No official written reason has been given. Mr. Parvez was verbally informed that the Intelligence Bureau of India had ordered that he was not allowed to travel outside the country. Mr. Parvez was to lead the AFAD delegation and to attend various meetings with UN officials and representatives of Permanent Missions of UN Member States in Geneva.
Two days later, around 12.30am on 16 September Mr. Parvez had been arrested from his home in Srinagar and brought to the Kothibagh Police station. No justification was given for the arrest, and no arrest warrant was shown. Mr. Parvez was later hen taken to the Kupwara sub-jail, which made it difficult for him to communicate with his lawyers and isolated him from his family, both based in Srinagar. Even after a sub-jail authorities were served with the Sessions Court order quashing his detention, he was taken back to the Kothi Bagh Police station and later, Police have stated that Mr. Parvez is being taken to Jammu to be detained at the Kot Bhalwal jail. Seven days after being first detained in Srinagar, Mr. Parvez will now be lodged close to 300 kilometers away from his family and legal counsel, making access to both very difficult.
His legal team has been informed by the Police that that was being detained under the Public Safety Act, but they have not been provided any orders, warrants or grounds for detention. His lawyers had moved the acting Chief Judicial Magistrate, Srinagar, questioning his continued detention despite the Sessions Court order. The Police have been ordered to submit a report the next day.
We note that article 9(1) of the ICCPR, to which India is a state party, provides that “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law. Article 9(2) states that anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest. Article 14(3)(b) of the ICCPR is very clear in stating that everyone shall be entitled to communicate with a counsel of his own choosing.
The above provisions aim at ensuring that every deprivation of liberty will be in accordance with the law, in order to make sure the rights and safety of a person arrested are protected at all times, and that he / she will be entitled to due process not subjected to enforced disappearance, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment etc. The actions taken by the Indian authorities against Khurram Parvez are in blatant violation of the above articles of the ICCPR and endangers the safety and rights of Mr. Parvez.
This appears to be a reprisal for his long years of human rights activism. The timing of the denial to travel and arrest appears to indicate the Indian authorities aimed to stop him from participating in the 33rd session of the UN Human Rights Council.
We demand the immediate release of Mr. Parvez. And in the meantime, to ensure his physical and mental well-being and to grant him free access to his lawyers and to allow him to freely communicate with his family.
  1. Education Renaissance Programme
  2. Free Media Movement
  3. Human Rights Office, Kandy
  4. INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre
  5. International Centre for Ethnic Studies
  6. Women Development Innovators
  1. Ananda Jayasekara
  2. Angelica Chandrasekeran
  3. Anushaya Collure
  4. Balasingham Skanthakumar, Social Scientists Association
  5. C. Dodawatte, Free Media Movement
  6. Chameera Perera, Left Center
  7. Damith Chandimal
  8. Deekshya Illangasinghe
  9. Dharshanie Alles
  10. Fr. Nandana Manatunga
  11. Godfrey Yogarajah, Executive Director, World Evangelical Alliance – Religious Liberty Commission
  12. Hans Billimoria, The Grassrooted Trust, Sri Lanka
  13. K. Aingkaran, Attorney-at-Law
  14. K.J. Brito Fernando – President Families of the Disappeared
  15. Marisa De Silva
  16. Nalini Ratnarajah
  17. Philip Dissanayake – Secretary – Right to Life Human Rights Center
  18. Dr. Philip Settunga
  19. Ruki Fernando
  20. Samal Hemachandra
  21. Sudantha Madawa Fernando, Aluth Parapura
  22. Srinath Chathuranga, Aluth Parapura
  23. Thiyagaraja Waradas
  24. Udaya Kalupathirana
  25. Upul Wicramasinghe


( Does Govt want to give Police unlimited powers re recording statements from suspects)
(SLB /23 Sep 2016)
Sri Lanka Brief23/09/2016
In a letter  Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, regarding the proposed amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure Act depriving suspects of access to lawyers until their statements are recorded the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka  has called for  withdrawal of  the aforesaid amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure and to continue to recognise and enhance the rights of suspects to have access to their lawyers. The letter says that ” the new Bill derogates from the rights already guaranteed by the State under Rules made by the inspector General of Police under the police Ordinance.”
Further it says that ” The new Bill is contrary to the accepted international standards of human rights which Sri Lanka is obliged to guarantee to its people. The attention of the Government of Sri Lanka is drawn to the relevant provisions of the lnternational Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)”
The HRC-SL letter to the Prime Minister is given below:
Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Temple Trees. Colombo 3
Honourable Prime Minister,
The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka is gravely concerned, that the Bill published in the Gazette on the 1,2th of August 2016, proposing to amend the Criminal Procedure Code, will deprive suspects arrested and detained by the Police of access to Attorneys-at-law, prior to the recording their statement, and will adversely impact on the constitutionally guaranteed rights of persons including the citizens of Sri Lanka”
The Bill proposes to introduce a new section 37A to the Criminal procedure Code. The proposed Section 374(1) states rhal”ony person who hos been arrested and detained in custody, shall have the right to retain and consult on Attorney-ot-law of his choice ot his own expense, ofter the recording of his statements in terms of the provisions of subsection (1) of the section 770 and prior to being produced before a Magistrate.”
Although this section purports to give a right to arrested suspects to retain and consult an Attorney at-law, such right is granted only after a statement is recorded from the suspect. Between the time of arrest and until the time of the conclusion of the recording of a statement, the suspects are deprived of access to their Attorneys-at-law.
The new Bill derogates from the rights already guaranteed by the State under Rules made by the lnspector General of Police under the police Ordinance.

The Human Rights Commission notes that as a result of a settlement reached in the Supreme Court in a Fundamental Rights Application, the inspector General of Police made rules under the police Ordinance cited as Police (Appearances of Attorneys-at-Law at Police Stations) Rules 2012,” recognising the right of a lawyer to represent his/her client at a police station and requiring the officer in charge of the police station to facilitate such representation. These rules effectively recognise the right which all persons including suspects have to access their Attorneys-at-law at any time, including the period immediately after arrest and while being in detention.
The Human Rights Commission has observed that many instances of torture as well as cruel, inhuman treatment of suspects at police stations occur between the period of arrest and the conclusion of the recording of their statements. As such depriving suspects under arrest and detention of access to their lawyers until the conclusions of their statements will result in a greater risk of suspects being subject to torture, cruel and inhuman treatment as well as illegal arrest and detention by errant police officers.
The passage of the new Bill will hinder the efforts of the Government which has expressed its determination to stop torture in Sri Lanka.
The Human Rights Commission is equally concerned that the new provision will impinge on Fundamental Right of a fair trial guaranteed to an Accused under Article L3(3) of the Constitution’ The right to a fair trial begins from the time of investigation. The lack of a fair and impartial investigation will result in the deprivation of a fair-trial to an accused. The new provision, depriving suspects of access to lawyers during a crucial stage of the investigation will result in eventually the accused being deprived of a fair trial as a result of an unfair and partial investigation.

Furthermore, granting access to lawyers after the suspects’ statements are recorded and just before them being produced before a Magistrate is of little consequence. The new Bill is contrary to the accepted international standards of human rights which Sri Lanka is obliged to guarantee to its people. The attention of the Government of Sri Lanka is drawn to the relevant provisions of the lnternational Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). lt has been observed that the right to liberty and security of persons and the right of due process established by law requires the State to permit access to counsel from the inception of the detention and that there ought to be prompt and regular access to lawyers.
The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka has upheld that the Right to a fair trial includes the accused being granted adequate time and facilities for the preparation of the defence and to communicate with counsel of one’s own choosing. This is also reflected in Article 14 of the ICCPR. Sri Lanka’s Code of Criminal Procedure has been criticised by international bodies including the UN Committee Against Torture of lacking ‘fundamental legal safeguards, such as the right to have o lowyer present during any interrogation ond…the right to confidential communication between lawyer and client.’ As such, it is necessary to strengthen, not weaken, the right of suspects to have access to lawyers.

Especially when Sri Lanka has embarked on a constitutional reform process, including the drafting of a new Chapter on Fundamental Rights that should accord with the highest international and national human rights standards, the presentation of this Bill is all the more problematic.
ln the above circumstances, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to withdraw the aforesaid amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure and to continue to recognise and enhance the rights of suspects to have access to their lawyers.
Dr N. D. Udagama,
Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka

Gagan Air Force Commander wears uniform even after being sent home ! Demented or delusive ?

LEN logo(Lanka-e-News -23.Sep.2016, 6.45PM) The former Air Force Commander Gagan Bulathsinhala who was best known for his worst corrupt activities during the period he held  the post , and who got thrown out from his position within the shortest period in the history of the Sri Lankan Air Force , is now engaged in another evil and villainous activity along with another group of henchmen of his aimed at disrupting and sabotaging the new administration of the Air Force , based on reports reaching Lanka e News inside information division.
This shameless discarded Commander has still not handed over  his official residence or his official vehicle to his successor. In addition he is still keeping back a security detail comprising 45 members illegally. Though  the defense secretary has given  written orders to hand over the residence back , Gagan the moron cum villain has still not honorably given up  the official residence ‘Air House’ despite the fact that Gagan has a house in Colombo. What is much more  ridiculous and ludicrous about this villainous joker is , even after retirement he attends functions wearing  the official uniform to the dismay and shock of all . 
Gagan ‘s official term ended on 2016-09 -12 , yet instead of retiring honorably like a gentleman , he resorted to all kinds of underhand tactics and hypocritical acts to continue in his post until the end. It is very unfortunate , Gagan was the only Air Force Commander who created an unwelcome history as the infamous Air Force Commander who retired and disappeared without telling anyone while also  scolding  the commander in  chief of the forces, whereas all other Air Force Commanders had been  following the tradition of meeting the retinue of officers and soldiers in their camps for the last time before retirement.

No matter what , Lanka news is inundated with a number of letters written by the soldiers of the Air force continuously against Gagan . Those letters  expressed the delight of the entire Air Force over the sensible, far sighted  and prudent  action taken by the commander in chief of the forces to send Gagan on retirement without granting an extension.

It is a well and widely known fact that any commander of the forces following his retirement is divested of his  privilege of appearing in his official uniform . He loses that privilege of wearing the official uniform even for a moment when taking part in functions or  parades  under the laws governing the Forces. Yet this infamous ex Air Force commander without an iota of shame ( how can he have shame when he was a most notorious corrupt Air Force Commander even while wearing the official uniform? ) attended the Air Force guard of honor wearing the official uniform.  By that he became the laughing stock not only among the Air Force but even among all the other three Forces. Gagan’s queer and demented  ways after retirement sent a wave of rude shock among all the forces.
An explanation ought to be demanded from him  in this regard , and Gagan shall  be instructed to abide by the laws governing the forces.
How Gagan followed the  jungle laws when he was the Air Force Commander is well known. Kapila Jayampathy who was the Director operations during that period , and who is now the Air Force commander was deprived of his status , official vehicle and  office . He was  only allocated a place in the underground area of the Air Force headquarters , which was no better than a prison cell. 
It is this Gagan the villainous scoundrel who is even now , after retirement depriving the current Air Force Commander Jayampathy of his official vehicle and residence .This in other words is misuse of state property. Consequently Jayampathy has to travel  to office daily from his residence located even farther  from Kottawa . He is forced to use another vehicle provided temporarily by another ministry .
Perhaps Gagan is taking advantage and resorting  to this villainy ,  thuggery and illegality  because of the leniency shown and the gentleman traits of the present Air force commander Kapila Jayampathy who is not taking  any drastic action . Yet this situation has created unrest and unpleasantness against Gagan’s attitude . At any rate hooliganism of hooligans ought not be given encouragement. 
Gagan’s aim and objective by these illegal and villainous action is to sabotage the administration within the Air Force. Hence , a stern order shall be issued that he returns the official residence and the vehicle forthwith which he is holding back for the last two weeks . He shall also be ordered to hand back the security detail .If he does not obey , he shall be hauled up before the military court.   In the past  by summoning Sarath Fonseka before the military court it has been confirmed that under the disciplinary code of the forces , action can be taken against an officer within six months of his retirement . This law no doubt applies to Gagan too.

Moreover , the new Air Force commander shall be compelled to launch investigations into the monumental corruption activities of Gagan when he was the Air Force Commander . This will be in the best interests of the forces and the nation.
Meanwhile , the new commander shall take immediate action to revoke the ban imposed on Lanka e news within the Air force by Gagan for exposing his illicit and corrupt activities.  The new Commander of the Air Force had  announced that the viewers have a right to read reports of every media sans a ban , and that right applies not only to Lanka e news readers but every media . The new Air force commander conducting himself as a  true and bold commander asked  , if the media has a right to criticize the president and the prime minister , why not the commander of the forces ?  He is therefore ready to face any criticism , he pointed out.
by     (2016-09-23 12:19:44)

Rise Against ETCA: JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake Tells Public

Colombo Telegraph
September 23, 2016
The controversial Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India continued to face protest after protest, with the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) too calling on the people to join hands and rise against the government decision to sign the agreement.
Addressing a seminar on ‘Trading, Sacrifice and ETCA’ in Colombo this week, JVP leaderAnura Kumara Dissanayake said that the agreement will see the influx of low grade IT professionals to the country, which will result in the country’s youth losing job opportunities and Indians gaining.
“If talented Indian IT professionals want to go abroad they select Europe and America. Hence, the highest strata in India would never come to Sri Lanka. The middle strata would remain in India. It is the lowest strata that would come to Sri Lanka. There is a huge unemployment issue in India. As such, youths in Sri Lanka would not get any opportunity in India through the ETCA,” Dissanayake said.
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“We must launch a struggle and defeat the government’s plan of signing this agreement in India. They are lying about this agreement,” he said.
Dissanayake said that when ETCA is signed that would mean the future of Sri Lankan youth will be sacrificed and they will have no jobs specially in the IT sector. “The government is also planning on signing such an agreement without the basis of any scientific evaluation,” he said.
He also accused both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of being ‘property auctioneers’ by attempting to sell the country’s resources as well as focusing on wrong economic policies. “Some said Ranil was an economic expert. But his strategy is all about selling, and sacrificing. He wants to sell state enterprises; sacrifice state institutions and natural resources – by signing agreements such as ETCA to open the service sector which will have dangerous repercussions,” he said.
Dissanayake said that the JVP is against selling. “The economy in our country is very small. The goods and services trade is only Rs.11, 000 million. The total investment is only US$680 million. Our share in the world market is only 0.05%. Exports earn only US$ 10000,” he said.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Awake, O sleepers, the time to do some real work has come!

logoAdmit it. The headline floored you. There you were on a Friday morning muttering “TGIF!” loudly and fervently if you’re the boss… or furtively under bated breath if you’re a wage slave – like me. Then along comes some ham-fisted headline like this, like a double-decker bus down High Level Road, and hits you in the solar plexus, like a sack of potatoes swung to the midriff or an extra portion of French fries under the belt. Oomph! Ouch! That hurt. What, our elected representatives – work? Not in a month of Sundays; not if their lives depended on it and not just your votes come their election time again!

Is that what I hear you think? Well, say it again. It’s official. Work is what you do when you’re in the office, under the eyes of a watchful clock or supervisor, and ensconced in productive labour. And now, also, what you do when you’re not in, clocked out, and simply sitting in public transport waiting to be taken where you can sign in or punch in. Or at least that’s what some enterprising folks in Europe would have the rest of us lazy postcolonial slackers believe.

untitled-4According to a recent report on online site Quartz, “A court has ruled that time spent travelling to and from work is ‘work’.” In’s >Getting There> segment, it is revealed that the lateral-thinking tribunal has given a verdict in favour of employees over their slave-masters. Since “time spent travelling to and from work should count as actual work”, corporate establishments will now have to pay their workers for sitting in a train crammed tighter than the proverbial tin of Norwegian salmon or sweating it out in sardine-packed public buses en route to the slave camp. In the opinion of this EU court, many blue- as well as white-collar workers who have no fixed place of work – like technicians such as electricians, social service workers or specialised caregivers, and millions of myriad sales reps – must be recompensed for the rush-hour trauma they suffer in order to work. Or get to work.

The European Court of Justice can’t leave getting there well alone, apparently. As if to add insult to injury to the company laws over which they sat in judgment, the ECJ deemed it mandatory that no worker must be compelled to labour – even with love – for more than 48 hours per week. It evidently has the health and safety of Europe’s increasingly Asian, African, and Middle Eastern workforce at heart. Not only is a minimum rest period now guaranteed to Europe’s toiling masses, but the EU’s working time directive inures workers from the vagaries of captains of commerce and industry too, who close down regional offices due to cost control factors, and the vicissitudes of commuting to which this subjects employees.


Well now, this is all truly cultured of a civilisation that was swinging through the trees when a certain resplendent isle was working tirelessly to make itself the granary of the east – to say nothing of being the acme of religious philosophy and the epitome of a political system that worked better than its colonising opponents claimed when they invaded us to liberate the enslaved masses. But who’ll pay a plumber to sit like a plum pudding in a crowded Colombo-bound suburban bus while the bathtub leaks and the taps run dry? Worse yet, I can just see my insurance sales agent padding up my annual vehicular bill with detours to drop off his children at school – or visit a cinema to relieve his tired ever-working mind of the storm and stress, generally generated when his clients go through the fine print for small details such as hidden supercharges!

Maybe the worst fallout from our European friends’ socioeconomic rashness is yet to come. Already I can hear the busy minds of our diabolical politicos in an Eastern hemidemisemi-paradise ticking over in double time like some fiendish metronome hell-bent on serving its selfish interests. Where once upon a time some of our political servants in the super-luxury class demanded an extravagant importation of cars so that they could visit their electorates in comfort and safety, they might now demand time off from their representative duties to drive their vehicles to and from ‘work’. Worse than these perhaps unfounded fears is the wild imaginings of my mind as it contemplates the wicked and wily schemes of opportunistic politicians who might capitalise on the redefinition of work taking place at the heart of our planet’s politically sophisticated centre.

Here is what could well come to characterise soon the work done and work demanded in order that payment in cash and kind be merited by our members of parliament and bureaucratic mandarins:

Attacking one’s personal and one’s party’s political enemies in person, print, and at protests – in thought, word, or deed… work!?

Kissing babies. Which paid up for enterprise could easily degenerate into making babies for their political cohorts to kiss. Gives ‘workingman’ new meaning, eh.

Ceremonially declaring open buildings, events, business establishments, etc. The inordinate number of corporate houses and civil society institutions which require a politician to ‘grace’ their ceremonious functions – when all that these worthies have done of late is to disgrace themselves and scandalise the nation – leaves me speechless; but not the politicos concerned, who generally proceed to hold forth on republican virtues which are more honoured in the breach than the observance. All in a day’s work.

But of course as you the discerning reader would have realised by now, this is not the shape of things to come in a possible future political culture. It is the state of the nation’s political ethos as it is.

All of this is preamble. Now we come to the res.

Work v. work

All of the above facetious poking of fun at politicos must serve a purpose. If this column is to take its mandate to explore realpolitik in its present incarnation seriously. And if readers who are serious about democratic-republicanism are to take that avatar of pragmatic politics seriously in the national interest.

Which is to say that from time out of mind, arguably since Aristotle realised that man is a political animal (and probably headed off to the pub for a pint with his pals to celebrate that keen insight) politicians have ‘worked’. For themselves, their parties, their partisan agendas, their petty political interests; even the larger broader national interest in times of national crises like war, famine, economic meltdown. There comes a time in every polity’s maturity and midlife crisis, however, when citizens suspect that their elected representatives are not capable of doing a decent day’s work in the people’s interest – not if their lives depended on it. Such times militate in favour of movements and revolutions ostensibly attempting genuine reform of the state of the nation. Words such as “new” combined with “political culture” and “new” juxtaposed with “a … deal” begin to acquire fresh vitality. There is an exciting sense that the typical bloated corrupt regime’s ‘work’ is coming to an end at the hands – and voting feet – of their nemesis: the enfranchised citizen. A hush about a new ‘WORK’ – in all caps – is shouted out where once it was whispered.

That this brave new ‘WORK’ of reforming and reframing the republic has fallen into some state of disrepair is being suspected by even the most charitable of the Government’s interlocutors today. This is not to say that some solid ‘work’ (in the sense of basic good governance and restored confidence in the fundamentals of state administration) hasn’t been done to restore the diurnal doings of our late great democracy to some semblance of normalcy. We had forgotten – for a decade or more – what governance (leave alone good) looked like… So we’d be forgiven by being grateful and not a gobsmacked at its re-establishment. But there is also a disappointment that the greater ‘Work’ (with a cap) envisaged – a sea-change into something richer and not at all strange or stale as the old familiar bread and circuses – has not quite happened.

Sure, something happened and has happened; and some things are still happening to make the heart glad and the media as much as motley sycophants sing their governing mandarins’ praises. But is it WORK? Or work, and business and politics as usual? The jury is still out on that one.

Let me in the interim, as a working suggestion, propose three areas inter alia in which our duly elected leaders might consider more concerted labours of love.

AUTHORITY: Under previous egregiously egotistic regimes, chief executives were notoriously atheistic to criticism. Today, presidents and prime ministers are still being treated like sacred cows… by both civil society as an amorphous group comprising God knows whom… as well as media – an amoral gathering of gadflies who nevertheless play a part in the maintenance of republican virtue and integrity. Could it be a work in progress that senior governmental leaders still feel the stings and barbs of critical engagement such that they interpret these not as the slings and arrows of the outrageous fortune which brought them to office, but as personal attacks? Would it be too much to ask them not to interpret it as insult or injury – but embrace the boldness of their interlocutors as not loving them less, but the republic more? Work at it, dear sirs!

ACCOUNTABILITY: Much was made of the deterioration of transparency under a bygone government whose misdemeanours smacked of impunity. But even today there are blue-eyed boys who seem to be facile at evading the long arm of the law vis-à-vis COPE… or party favourites ensconced in Parliament and Cabinet, as a bulwark against chauvinistic forces which could trump them at future elections. Would it be too much to ask that highbrows in Government work at more closely matching the principles they espoused on the campaign trail with the values they seem reluctant to embrace in the convenient political marriage?

ACCEPTABILITY: Although no one remembers the old hat of the 100-Day Plan any more, the framers of our would-be social contract did warn us that they were concerned about the decline and fall of ethics and morals. Today the fine print we failed to read is coming back to bite us in the backside. Time for independent-minded citizens and guardians of civil liberties to watch the dogs who puritanically preach against the indulgences of the masses which they disapprove of – while self-indulgently supplying ways and means for their cronies and cohorts to indulge themselves! You cannot preach temperance and sobriety to folks who are forced to watch while politicians on the public purse live it up in style like there was no tomorrow – and today, while presidents preach about societal vices like public consumption of alcohol, our women and children are being consumed in private by perverts, twisted school principals who administer corporate punishment for a sadistic whim, and powerfully protected paedophile rings which have positioned Sri Lanka as a child sex-tourism haven since Hikkaduwa opened its beaches to hippies. Work on that, would you, Mr. Workingman’s Wonderboy!

Hope none of these are too Herculean for the true Workers of our late great Republic being resurrected behind the veil away from prying public gazes. We the Masters of the Servants of the people would very much like to be able to say one day – perhaps at the very next polls – that desideratum of every decent democrat elected to office: “Well done, thou good and faithful worker!”

Investigation begun on another suspected fraud by Prasanna

It is reported that the Special Police Division has commenced another investigation against former Chief Minister of Western Provincial Council Prasanna Ranatunga and three senior officials on a complaint made by 30 Members of the Provincial Council including its Leader of the Opposition Manjusri Arangala stating that the former Chief Minister and the officials had misappropriated Rs. 70 million of public funds.
The Special Division recorded statements in connection with the complaint from Mr. Arangala and five other Members of the PC yesterday (22nd).
Statements from 15 more members have been already recorded say reports.