4 March, 2021

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Analysing Sumanthiran: A Reality Check On Hejaaz, Muslim Politicians & Lawyers 

By Mass L. Usuf

Mass Usuf

On 09/12/2020, at the Committee Stage Debate in the Parliament on the Appropriation (2021) Bill, Honourable Member of Parliament Mr. M.A. Sumanthiran made some terse remarks given the limited time allotted to him.

He justified the need for an international inquiry and international judicial process to look into serious crimes committed in this country which has an impact on international law. In order to drive home his point, he alluded to several instances and, euphemistically made reference to the “depths to which your judicial system has sunk”. As a recent example he cited Mr. Hejaaz Hizbullah, an Attorney at Law who is currently in detention. Mr. M.A. Sumanthiran said, “a brilliant young lawyer denied justice for eight months. All kinds of false allegations were made against him.”  Further, he drew attention to the fact that if there were any grounds for prosecution, they should have filed charges against him. The Opposition Member of Parliament questioned the Minister of Justice Mr. Ali Sabry “what were you doing for eight months?”  

Voicing concern over the sacrosanct Attorney/Client communication, he pointed out that two of the client briefs of Attorney Mr. Hejaaz Hisbullah were taken away. He also deplored the fact that Hejaaz had not been given proper access to his lawyer. Mr. Sumanthiran then emphatically asked the million-dollar question, “if you treat a lawyer like that how do we expect you to treat anybody else?”

Silencing The Voice

Like Mr. Sumanthiran not many Muslim politicians dare to express themselves in Parliament. One may question, why not? The answer is in the lack of cohesiveness between the Muslim politicians, at least on matters of common interest. It is very rare. Some are gagged by the influence of external factors, political slavery. Ironically, among them are also those probably not really aware why the hell they are sitting in Parliament – day dreaming!  

As for the handful of the handful who wish to speak, the moment they do say something relating to the detention of Hejaaz and the many others or on any matter relating to the Easter Sunday attack, they would be accused of aiding and abetting extremism. Many government members in Parliament, deliberately do not allow the person to speak by drowning his voice with louder noise of interruptions and unruly behaviour.

Hot on the heels of such accusations are the notorious spin doctors, the media. They would build up a misleading or deceptive story incriminating the politician to create a negative impact of that person. Other vested interests, in this grand agenda, would pick it up from there and give their own interpretation, modify and reframe the allegations exacerbating the negative public opinion created. By this method the voice of the few who have the nerve to speak are often silenced or overwhelmed by disturbance. Freedom of expression, leave alone outside the Parliament, even under the Parliamentary Privileges has been stultified in our august assembly by vested interests.

Psychological Torture

Mr. Hejaaz Hizbullah is not alone. Like him there are so many others under detention orders unable to make sense of what is in store for them. Neither charged nor released, they are in a continuous state of suspense. Just like a live bird in a skewer over fire.  It does not want to die burning but, yet, it does not have the freedom to fly away. This state of affairs naturally causes much anxiety and depression not only to those who are detained in this manner but also to the near and dear ones. This is plain and simple mental torture violating the fundamental right against torture enshrined in the constitution besides the international ratifications.

(1) The Charter of the United Nations in relation to obligation of States under the Charter states in Article 55 (c):

“universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.”

(2) The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 banning torture mentions in Article 5: 

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

(3) The ban is further enshrined in Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

(4) The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment adopted in 1984 defines torture, in Article 1.1: 

“For the purposes of this Convention, the term “torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person …”

Article 2.2

“No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

The infamous PTA

The infamous and dreaded Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act, No. 48 of 1979 as amended provides the legality for such incarceration. The PTA was a law enacted to prevent terrorism but it is alleged that many people with no connection to terrorism have been arrested and detained under its provisions.  

Imagine the sorry predicament of an Attorney who is supposed to work for the advancement of civil liberties, fearing for his own civil liberty.  Is it something to laugh at or a signification of a continuously corroding system? The constant reminder of what happened to Hejaaz hangs like the Sword of Damocles over the head of Muslim lawyers. They were in other words indirectly pressurized into silence except for some selected Attorneys. Who would want to face the situation that Hejaaz Hizbullah is in? This form of pressure is not sustainable because with the passage of time, people do bounce back when the level of tolerance is exceeded.

Fear Psychosis At Work – Lawyers

With the arrest of Hejaaz, the Muslims lawyers felt an unprecedented sense of insecurity in their professional and personal life. Such was the threat of the PTA and its tool of unpredictable detention. Members of the legal profession are supposed to be in a privileged status because they are part of ‘the administration of justice and essential for the maintenance of law and order and the preservation and advancement of civil liberties and the maintenance in general of the rule of law’. (Professional Ethics, A.R.B. Amerasinghe, Page 43)

We also witnessed the most unfortunate split among lawyers on the matter of Hejaaz. Can it be considered fair if the public questions the depth to which the legal profession has sunk. (See: Gota’s ‘Sinhala-only’ lawyers mount offensive to keep Attorney Hejaaz Hizbullah in illegal detention, Colombo Telegraph: 02/05/2020).

Such unprofessionalism was openly noticed among some of the doctors too, who failed to speak out on Dr. Shafi’s issue, the so called ‘wanda pethi’ and so many other stupidest allegations made.

It is a shame to see professionalism being a pawn to racism and racist agendas. Professional ethics and conduct demand a level higher than the conduct of an average person. “The legal profession has a responsibility to ensure that its guiding principles are conceived in the public interest and not in furtherance of parochial or self-interest concerns of the Bar and its members.” (ibid, Page 43).

Unaware of the pressure, limitations and fear that had mentally terrorised most of the Muslim lawyers, the Muslim community was often accusing the Muslims lawyers for maintaining silence at times they were supposed to speak out.

In the words of Crampton J. in Rex v. O’Connell:

“This court in which we sit is a temple of justice; and the advocate at the bar, as well as the judges upon the benches, are equally ministers in that temple. The object of all equally should be the attainment of justice; now justice is to be reached through the ascertainment of the truth…”

It is time that the legal fraternity get their act together and function in furtherance of justice, equity and fairness. Let the lawyers stand up as true and good professionals and be an example to other professions as well. The Bar Association of Sri Lanka as the premier institution of the legal profession may have a major role to play in this area o

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Latest comments

  • 54
    2

    So long Parliament is filled with rascals, high level murderers, drug traffickers and all other Rajapakshe supporters but criminals in all known and unknown form, even thinking of a better future is like waiting to see pigs might fly. People sent them into parliament no body else. So we are a doomed nation.😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎

    • 7
      0

      Most ridiculous thing is – even if it is public secret that TODAY s parliament is the predominately criminals dominated body, may be prison collections are not that dangerous as appeared to be.
      .
      1) SRILANKEN media further introduce it as “the most noble body” of the country -රටේ තිබෙන උත්තරීතරම සභාව

      Likewise

      2) The very same people introduce – abusive buddhagama monks as ” බුද්ධ පුත්‍රයාණන්වහන්සේ”
      That athana methana natana rathana monk, alleg baluwansha, muruththetuwe anandha and colombo kotuwe haamudurwo misled the nation as no other monks 😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎

    • 0
      0

      Dear L

      “Parliament is filled with rascals, high level murderers, drug traffickers”

      Let us assume all you say is true…therefore how did we end up here is what we need to evaluate is it not??

      There are folks believe in Nationhood and we were “all” working to that without all the above up until early 70’s from all the ghettos/walks of life to give our nation an opportunity to amongst the successful Nations…….who interrupted this process without any du diligent hard thinking then is what one need to revisit?? what have we done to remove all that collectivcely so your concerns could be addressed is it not instep we have been compounding the same by the same from ghetto parties ??

      All I am stating here is to oppose all parties with ghetto mentality as a solution to all our problems will start yielding results is what required here?? but keep on focusing on one sided leaves the other unaddressed and hardens once resolve as is transpiring as you have correctly concerned above ?? you may be surprised of the results if we have “National” policies only parties in our Nation will fast track all the lost time in development work too??

      Let us have parties with national policies look at all issues holistically and present to people they will support causes for a respectful future and GOSL that is pleasing to all will appear naturally.

  • 29
    15

    Mr. Usuf,
    Unlike Dr.Ameer Ali, an enlightened thinker/writer, you have been an apologist for the reactionary ACJU, defending ACJU stance against liberating Muslim women. Mr. Sumanthiran speaking up for the persecuted lawyer Hizbullah and others is commendable. In Oct. 1976, when Muslim worshippers were shot and killed by the STF in Puttalam mosque, it was Mr. S.J.V. Chelvanayagam who first raised the issue in Parliament – in his old age, just six months before his death- and demanded a judicial inquiry and justice for the Muslims. Where were you when the Muslim leaders (Rauff Hakim, ACJU & co) ganged up with Rajapakses and traveled to Geneva and demonstrated against the Geneva Resolution (seeking accountability for war crimes against Tamils.)? Muslim Ministers visited Islamic capitals as Rajapaksas’ emissaries to canvas support against the Resolution. Muslim leaders must join forces with the other persecuted lot – learn to resist and fight injustice.

    • 22
      10

      It would be an insult to Muslims who are suffering these days due to forced cremation and general discrimination they face in their day to day life for you to include those politicians with Muslim names as being in their community. Stop trying to alienate minority communities; I saw many Muslims sharing videos in support of Tamil politicians who had the guts to speak truth to power. I respect that. Anyone; be they buddhist, Tamil, Christian or Muslim who speaks the truth and stands with the oppressed will always have my respect.
      .
      Also let’s abandon this talk of “liberating” Muslim women. It’s not a good look for anyone to dictate what other communities should do and say and it’s especially concerning about perversions within the ones calling for “liberation” when they are dictating for women to remove their modest clothes to wear immoral clothes that would be pleasing to their perverted eyes. Muslim women CHOOSE THEMSELVES to wear the hijab. What is there to liberate in a Muslim who dresses in Islamic attire for their Lord, knowing full well the discrimination, hate and unprovoked anger they will receive from moda people who have nothing to do all day other than listen to modays talk on ada derana and hiru.

      • 5
        9

        GATAM
        Let’s not rest until Mulim women are liberated from this darkness.
        .
        For 1400 years how many billions of women have been wrapped up and blinded folded from birth to death and used only for procreation?
        Born as a human being the most fundamental right of walking freely under sunshine and to hold the hand of a man in love have been denied to a substantial section of human population.
        .
        Can there be a more severe form of human rights violation?
        .
        It is a shame on militarily powerful countries to tolerate this state of affairs.The civisisational responsibility of non Muslims is to liberate not only Muslim women but also to rid the humanity from this evil cult.
        .
        Muslims in Sri Lanka and India, a particulaly filthy lot despised both by Tamils and Sinhalese, should move to Pakistan, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia as India and Sri Lanka are idol worshipping countries.

        Soma

        • 4
          4

          GATAM
          Can you multiply by 1000?
          If you want to understand how much we despise you do that arithmetic operation to the following:
          /
          GATAM / November 7, 2020
          Sri Lankan Buddhists are the most intolerant, superstitious, jealous and naive people I have ever met across 34 countries I traveled. They would worship any tree, clay thing, alien or politician for benefit. World Buddhists must steer clear of this intolerant tribe.
          /
          As a favour to you I have circulated your opinon to all my friends with the request to onpass to their friends in turn.
          .
          Any comments?

          Soma

  • 2
    29

    Dear Usaf

    Let the FP/TULF/TNA come up with an answer to all the their killings/actions/activities in Jaffna since 1970.

    I have few questions for him (without any time restraint) in-front of the entire planet. If you are a lawyer without politics you can be in my bench at the SL court.

    That will then lead to Mr Hisbullah.

    I am also wondering what you were all doing when they were committing all their atrocities in Jaffna then?? business as usual until their political work has made the entire Muslims homeless/stateless where you have to live with the Sinhalese ever since??

    I also wonder what were you all doing ever since the war has finished regard to homing all the Muslims in their home ever since? if not ? why not??

    Now you want the same to stand up for the Muslim rights????? so what happened to the SL rights that is “us” including the Mr Hizbullah??

    You just legitimised a political organisation a “Ratha Pottu Mafia” for your personal state of affairs??

    This is what happens when I priorities are misplaced. Please enjoy.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOVRjsXIfzg

    • 5
      0

      Hi Vennu kunju so many dislikes for your comments. Give up

      • 0
        1

        Dear PK

        That was the whole purpose of myself writing here……..food for thought.

        How once process is a very democratic event as I do not force is down ones throat at gun point as is a very undemocratic and a crime against humanity etc.

        Once you process what took place in Jaffna 1970-1977-1981 by the Ratha Pottu Mafia and what has transpired to date is self explanatory……….we are merely analysing and knowledge sharing (just incase some of the readers may not have any knowledge of what took place) for a better tomorrow??

        With regard to what was highlighted by the Hon Sumanthiran who belongs to FP was totally missed out in Jaffna by Hon SJV/Amir/GG the Lawyers when people being gunned down systematically…I will let you work out the rest and am sure very intelligent to do so too.
        If he leaves this Mafia and be a MP he can help many more as he has nothing to do with the past crimes by the party.

        • 0
          0

          By the same token he has further undermined Mr Hisbullah’s position should he found to be innocent…………as is blatantly obvious no one is interested in Mr Hisbullah……this then take you back to 1970-1977-1981 a full life cycle (rather a death cycle) back to the origins once more?

  • 31
    24

    Karma is a Bitch and Muslims are no angles. As a wrier has said above these are the same people for personal gain went to the UN as well as foreign capitals to portray that minorities were not discriminated against .
    Lets be honest some of the worst offender on the front lines in the forty years offensive against the Tamil were Muslin. I am not justifying what VP did but he had little choice.
    During these forty years how many times can you recalls Muslim standing up in parliament to defend the rights of Tamils.

    • 20
      7

      Failure in this critical time for the minorities to unite and seek justice for the wrongs that were committed to them at the hands of the moda sinhala buddhist people, whether it is; forced cremation or the +100000 innocent civilians who were murdered at the hands of the armed forces or whether it is the countless instances of torture and rape that were carried on innocent people for their crime of being born a tamil in the north of this land.
      .
      The wrongs to each minority community will be addressed to each other, NOT in the court set up by the racist sinhala buddhists who wouldn’t know justice if it hits them in the face.

    • 21
      18

      Never . Given an. opportunity will again and again opportunistically join hands with the Sinhalese racists and extremists to commit war crimes and discrimination on the Tamils and are still doing so in the east. They do this and justify this in the name of Islam and a fake Arab or some other western Asian or other origin , that they hardly have. Will never acknowledge their actual Tamil ethnicity and origin. More than 90% of them look like typical Dravidian South Indians that they really are , just like the author of this article but will never acknowledge this and shamelessly claim an exclusive Arab descent and heritage.

      • 5
        18

        Rohan25,
        100% Tamils (Demalu) and 98% Muslims are Dravidians from Hindusthan who were lucky enough to settle down in this paradise island thanks to Sinhalayo who gave them citizenship. Giving citizenship to desperate people does not mean that Sinhalayo invited these foreign people to Sinhale.

        • 6
          0

          So are the Chingkallams 100% Dravidians who arrived from Hindusthan and more than half of them from Thamizh Nadu and Kerala just a few centuries ago. The word Sinhala is Prakrit a corruption of the ancient Thamizh word for the island Chingkallam . This is what my guru had posted many times. Please google and read. Eagle Thaatha you are becoming more and more senile

        • 2
          1

          Blind Eye Dumb Idiot
          Where the hell were the Sinhalese from? Don’t tell me they are the result of a Lion F’King a Monkey in Sri Lanka,

    • 6
      0

      Burt

      Here is a link which is about Office of Missing Person:
      http://www.ompsrilanka.org/omp-documents/omp-publications

  • 15
    16

    All Sri Lankans irrespective of the religious and race differences should support those who speak against injustice. At present Racism which existed against the Tamils has now been added on to the Muslims. Unfortunately Muslim politicians in Parliament crossed over and voted for 20A with the blessing of Rauff Hakeem and Rischard Badurdeen the leaders of two Muslim Parties. Those who crossed over in Rauff’s and Badurdeen’s parties have not been kicked out where as the other two parties Sajith’s and Mano Ganesan’s have kicked those who crossed. This is the traditional “thoppi peralanawa” story we have heard from our childhood days from the Muslim politicians. We have also seen numerous postings in the digital media that these two leaders and those who voted by crossing party lines got money from the Rajapakses.

    So why are the general Muslim public not on the road protesting against these traitorous politicians? We saw this same quiet behavior of Muslim masses when the child marriage, women’s’ rights, burial of Covid dead etc were taken up. Even there have been no protests against their own Maulvis who oppose progressive changes. Where is the Muslim community going?

  • 22
    22

    With all its obvious problems Sri Lanka at least pretends to follow Western democracy and systems. Therefore anyone can write articles , make speeches , speak in parliament, even go to court.

    Is there a single Muslim country where you can criticize the rulers, army, judges etc ? Iran, Saudi, Egypt, Maldives ? Perhaps to some extend, Malaysia ( if you are not a homo !). But Malaysia is very corrupt.

    Yet Muslims say that it is all in the Koran and if only people follow the Koran all problems will be solved.It was tried out in Afghanistan, but evil Satan America ruined it !

    Muslims get very heated and passionate about religion, immature and fanatical. May be it is a thought system that creates it

    Do they ever wonder where faith ( not reason or evidence) will lead them ? Religions take away the mind and make its believers child like and tribal ! At prayer time they look like a herd of simpletons listening to some half baked pretender called a priest/mullah talking about fantasies

    • 6
      3

      deepthi silva
      You wrote
      “With all its obvious problems Sri Lanka at least pretends to follow Western democracy and systems.”

      I am glad you wrote ” pretends to follow” thats the truth its only a pretence and in reality there is NO democracy in srilanka.
      Further you wrote “Therefore anyone can write articles” the articles have to in favour of the government no criticism if they criticise the ruling party then you know what will happen do I need to name those journalists who are murdered by your government???
      You also wrote “make speeches , speak in parliament, even go to court.” for what may I ask? all white wash.
      moreover, you inquired “Is there a single Muslim country where you can criticize the rulers, army, judges etc ?” Are we living in a muslim country??? The last I heard was SL is a Sinhala buddhist country, has that changed??

  • 10
    7

    Deepthi Silva,
    “Is there a single Muslim country where you can criticize the rulers, army, judges etc ? Iran”
    Perhaps you could name a Buddhist country where you can safely do all of the above. It has nothing to do with religion.
    Don’t look up and spit.

    • 0
      0

      Majority Buddhist countries:
      Thailand , Sri Lanka , Myanmar, Bhutan, Laos, Mongolia
      Crime in Thailand
      Official corruption is rampant in Thailand. It ranges from bribery to outright police collusion. The interplay of drugs, prostitution, political paralysis, corruption and collusion, a culture of impunity, international tourism and trade, traditional Buddhist tolerance and tendency to ignore problems has led to an increasingly multifaceted and complex crime epidemic

      Sri Lanka we know.

      Crime in Myanmar
      Crime is present in various forms in Myanmar and is continuous with the activities of many drug trafficking financed militias at the eastern and western border regions, and with corruption within and challenges to the central government.

      Bhutan is poor but pretty much good as a Buddhist country.

  • 13
    1

    Did the following Muslim MPP vote for the 20th Amendment so that the Govt: may soft peddle issues relating to Muslims, Burial and not cremation for those Muslims who succumb to the Corona, unlawful detention of Attorney Hejaz Hisbullah and Dr. Shafi etc etc?
    Ishaq Rahuman
    M.Raheem.
    Nazir Ahamed.
    M.H.M.Harris
    Faizal Cassim
    M.S. Thowfeek.
    Or did they vote so that they could continue with Business as usual?

    M.A.Sumanthiran P.C. has held a brief for Hisbullah.
    Late S.J.V. Chelvanayagam Q.C held a brief for the Puttalam Muslims way back in 1976 as pointed out by reader Karikalan Navaratnam.
    We have still to hear any Muslim MP raising his voice on the Trials and Tribulations faced by another ethnic Minority – the Tamils, over a very long period of time ex. 1983 anti Tamil violence.

    I have heard many liberal Sinhala and Tamil citizens say that the beneficiaries of the Sinhala – Tamil political conflict are the Muslims. Perhaps it is their strategy to go with the whirlwind!

  • 6
    4

    Old codger, I did not say anything about Buddhists . What I said applies to all religions. But Buddhist countries tend to be secular, and there is no compulsory religious mania. Japan perhaps is Buddhist in some way.

    Christian countries have created liberal democracy, the principles of which system we allege the Rajapakses violate.

    Would you like us to follow the methods of Muslim countries ?

    Some times we are so indoctrinated by the religion we were born into that we give up on objectivity. All arguments are used to merely justify the religion you were born into.

    Is that rational?

    • 3
      2

      Deepthi Silva,
      “But Buddhist countries tend to be secular, and there is no compulsory religious mania”
      Get real, Deepthi. Exactly how “secular” is Sri Lanka?. Buddhist monks officiate at state functions, get reserved seats in buses, Buddha statues are in state offices……etc. Never mind meatless days.
      Japan is not majority Buddhist.
      Actually, some Muslim countries ARE more liberal than SL. In Turkey or Albania, nobody is bothered by women in short skirts , or hijabs. Non-Muslim Malaysian women can wear short skirts.
      I am not a Muslim, but it’s wrong to tar all Muslims with the same brush when other religions are just as culpable.

  • 2
    0

    Pointing each other not prevailing the truth and the out come of ongoing situation which has to be discussed in a fair means.
    Mistakes of the past of the influential, political and professionals not be the mistakes of that community or to be subject to revange. Some are very open and happy to see silencing by suppression but not thinking their own and of their generations.
    Mr. Rauf Hakeem openly admitted that as a justice minister I have to defend Srilanka in UNO against war crimes. Now he his helpless of his own begging for the same rights for his fellow men’s death.
    What would be ……..
    Plato’s political philosoph.
    The people have always some champion whom they set over them and nurse into greatness
    . . . . This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears above ground he is a protector. . . . having a mob entirely at his disposal, he is not restrained from shedding the blood of kinsmen; . . . he brings them into court and murders them . . . at the same time hinting at the abolition of debts and partition of lands. . . . After a while he is driven out, but comes back, in spite of his enemies, a tyrant full grown.

  • 4
    0

    Majority of Muslim politicians are brave enough to go against good Muslims to get personal benefits from Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalist governments. They are very successful. Even they helped Rajapakse family to get through the 20th amendment as they did for 18th amendment. Even the Easter bombs was done by Muslims for Rajapakse family despite the blame gone on Muslim community. Muslim politicians are similar to Rajapakse family. They are not bothered about their communities or religions. They only bother about money and power.

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