25 September, 2020

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CID Abuses Covid-19 Surveillance To Detain Top Lawyer: Habeas Corpus Petition Reveals Terrifying Details

At 4PM on 14 April, Attorney-at-Law Hejaaz Hizbullah received a call at his home. The caller identified himself as an officer from the Ministry of Health. He inquired whether the lawyer had just withdrawn money from an ATM machine.

Attorney-at-Law Hejaaz Hizbullah

Hizbullah who had just returned from an ATM told the “MoH officer” that he had done so. The caller asked him to remain at home and await a visit from MoH officers. Hizbullah, his wife and her mother waited at home for the health officials to arrive, fretting that the ATM had been contaminated and they were now at risk of having contracted corona-virus. About an hour later, five persons including a woman arrived at the lawyer’s residence. They immediately handcuffed the attorney and began to question him about certain calls he had made on his telephone.

While the questioning was underway, one of the interrogators had received a telephone call. He left Hizbullah’s earshot to take the phone call. When he returned, he took off the lawyer’s handcuffs. Then they entered the lawyer’s chambers and demanded access to two case files relating to prominent Pettah spice trader Mohommed Yusuf Mohamed Ibrahim.

On April 21, 2019, Ibrahim’s sons had strapped on suicide vests and detonated themselves at two five star hotels in Colombo, two of six explosions that killed 269 people including foreigners. Over a decade ago, Hizbullah had represented the prominent Muslim trader in two cases in the District Court. The lawyer handed the files over, even though legal experts noted that this was unnecessary since Hizbullah was entirely covered by attorney-client privilege which is sacrosanct and no court of law  let alone police officials, could compel the lawyer to hand over client files.

Having recorded a statement from Hizbullah, the persons then ordered his wife, an Egyptian national to place her signature on a statement written in Sinhala. She did so without protest. Hizbullah was ordered to be present at the CID on 15 April. But soon afterwards, the visitors received another call. When that telephone call ended Hizbullah and his wife were ordered to accompany their visitors to the CID. On the way to the CID, Hizbullah’s junior lawyer Chalana Perera was allowed to accompany him. After several hours of interrogation, Perera was informed that Hizbullah was being arrested on hitherto unspecified charges. It has been four days since the attorney Hejaaz Hizbullah was detained. He is yet to be given access to his legal counsel except once with a CID officer present.

These terrifying details about the arrest of a prominent Sri Lankan lawyer were included in a Habeas Corpus petition filed before the Court of Appeal last week as days went by and Hizbullah remained in detention.

Pro Government media channels tarred the lawyer with the label of terrorist within hours of his arrest. His connections to the Ibrahim family have been presented as illegal, even though it will be recalled that the influential Pettah trader was included in the National List of the JVP in the 2015 parliamentary election. Scores of politicians and businessmen associated the Ibrahim family prior to the Easter attacks. The senior Ibrahim is also well known to have launched the political careers of several currently serving MPs. Investigators have never fully disclosed whether Yusuf Ibrahim, the father of suicide bombers Inshaf and Ilham who detonated themselves at the Shangri La Hotel and the Cinnamon Grand on 21 April last year was aware of the radicalization of his sons and the terror plot they were hatching with the mastermind of the bombings and extremist preacher, Zaharan Hashim.

The arbitrary arrest and detention of a lawyer has elicited nary a whimper of protest from the Bar Association of Sri Lanka even though the facts make it clear that Hizbullah might be paying a heavy price for services rendered in his capacity as an attorney at law a decade before the Easter attacks. The clever manipulation of facts and the propaganda drive initiated soon after Hizbullah’s arrest has made civil society activists and fellow lawyers hesitant to unequivocally condemn the arrest and see it for the blatant attempt to stifle dissent that it appears to be.

Jaffna lawyer and academic K. Guruparan however called the arrest of Hizbullah and the way it came about “atrocious”.

“No reasons for arrest, entering residence of lawyer in the guise of public health officials during a pandemic to conduct a search, handcuffed at home when being searched, perusing/taking court files of an attorney from his chambers. This is atrocious,” he tweeted after the Hizbullah’s father filed the Habeas Corpus petition.

Former ICTA Chairman Dr Rohan Samarajiva also took to Twitter to note that the manner in which the CID had gone about the arrest of the prominent lawyer destroyed the credibility of the Government’s COVID19 contact tracing and surveillance. “This is how you destroy trust in contact tracing by Sri Lanka health authorities,” Dr Samarajiva said referring to details in the Habeas Corpus application.

Others pointed out that the impersonation of a public official is a crime under Sri Lankan law. Section 168 of the Penal Code states that the offence of impersonating a public official – such as a Ministry of Health officer – and carrying out acts as one holds a punishment of two years in prison or a fine or both.

Tweep Thyagi Ruwanpathirana questioned whether the illegal arrest of lawyer Hizbullah was turning into an “enforced disappearance”.Is this illegal arrest turning into an enforced disappearance or are authorities willing to disclose information around Hejaz’s arrest? Authorities came under the guise of health officers for #COVID19 but arrested him after looking into his work!? #lka” she tweeted.

Concerns are also mounting about whether Hizbullah’s arrest was timed to prevent him from legally assisting Professor Ratnajeevan Hoole who might be mulling a Supreme Court challenge to efforts by the Government to force the Elections Commission to conduct a parliamentary election amid the corona virus pandemic, a situation that could endanger millions of voters and polling officials, Colombo Telegraph learns. Hejaaz Hizbullah shot to prominence after his famous 2018 representation of Commissioner Hoole in the Supreme Court case against the illegal dissolution of parliament by former President Maithripala Sirisena.

Over a decade ago (2009-2010) Hizbullah served represented Ibrahim in two district court cases. He also served as a trustee on a charity dedicated to orphan welfare. The Senior Ibrahim, the spice trade from Pettah ran this charity, Colombo Telegraph learns. Sources told Colombo Telegraph that Hizbullah had fully cooperated with the CID and the intelligence officials probing the Easter Sunday attacks, providing all the information the authorities sought about the Ibrahims.

According to the Habeas Corpus petition, the CID had already questioned the attorney about these cases and his involvement with the senior Ibrahim. The involvement of the prominent and enormously wealth Ibrahim family in the Easter Sunday attacks that claimed 258 lives sent shockwaves across Muslim society at the time.

The attorney’s father told the Court of Appeal that his son’s arrest and detention is mala fide and is calculated to penalise Hizbullah for his activities and obstruct him from engaging in his work as an attorney and a civil rights activist.

A writ of Habeas Corpus (‘you shall have the body’) is filed to require a person under arrest or being illegally detained to be brought before a judge or into a court of law, in order to secure the person’s freedom unless lawful grounds are shown for detention. If Hizbullah’s father’s writ is successful, the CID will be compelled to produce the lawyer in court and tell the judge the charges under which he is being held.

However, the Court of Appeal is currently led by Abdul Hameed Dileep Nawaz, a notoriously corrupt judge and staunch supporter of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. (by Chamika Madiwake)

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Latest comments

  • 53
    4

    This is not accetable at all.
    Victimising Judges, Lawyers and News Reporters is an absolute NO NO.
    We don’t want Sri Lanaka to be a Police state or an Army state.

    • 3
      36

      Mr. You are not Sri Lanka,
      /
      So…
      What you say is corrupt Judges, Lawyers and News Reporters are above law…?

      • 14
        4

        SC Pasqual,
        What you say is Gota is above the God Buddha and Judges?

      • 8
        2

        S. C. Pasqual

        Stop being an empty vessel go do some good deeds to the people.
        Here is a brilliant project:
        The Amazing Umandawa | Documentary
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0G-jzaFL3sY

        ගොබ්බ හැත්ත..මගෙ දානෙට කෙළ හලන්නෙ නැතුව තොපිත් වවාගෙන කාපියව්..!
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYd6qTDa2PU

        Umandawa Maha Vihara Monastery
        Kurunegala

        Watch, listen, grasp, think/contemplate, visit there, see for yourself, stay there ever, wiseup, …. which will stop you from being a dumbass.

        I wish you well.

      • 3
        0

        My Dear P C Pasqual,

        From the 29 dislikes you have got, you are NOT Sri Lanka at all.
        The corruption began with the politicians then is spread to other areas of society.

        We cannot say Gota , Mara, Namal Baby and the Military is not corrupt.
        They will be far worse than a few bad eggs in the Judiciary, among the Lawyers and Reporters.

        Gota lacks the political will to end corruption – It is very clear from his actions as the President of Sri Lanka that he is no Lee Kwon Yu.

    • 4
      1

      CT, true, the English language would be dull without adjectives to accentuate the point

    • 23
      1

      We Are S L,
      SL has not become an authoritative state yet but, the seeds for such a situation can already been be seen. However if GoRa/MaRa regime sees an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, they would certainly manipulate any law in order to silence potential rivals. I strongly believe that Hejaaz Hizbullah is a victim of such a scenario: Gvt’s strategy of bringing back the memories of horror from Easter Bombing as an election ploy while shutting him from supporting a legal battle against Gvt’s efforts have an early election. This tactic by the Gvt may explain the deafening silence of BASL over the arrest! It is very likely that, prior to the arrest, the BASL was informed by the CID. Their lack of any surprise over the incident is good clue for such a behind the scene deal!

      In any case, SL becoming an authoritative like state is inevitable if MaRa win the election b’cos it will allow GoRa to wield an unofficial authority going above & beyond the constitution. In such a situation, nobody except the close confidant of MaRa/GoRa family circle would be safe. That is b’cos rivals who has ears of the authority could easily concoct false claims of sabotage in order to destroy the competitors. I would like to warn BASL to be aware of this danger which is very common in all authoritative systems; not just in politics! Is this what motivate Ali Sabri – I don’t know!

    • 6
      13

      Since when did terrorist investigation become part of Police State, Thambi?
      ]
      Shut up and let law and order take its course,
      ]
      By the way, we don’t count Islamic/Wahabi terrorists as Sri Lankans.

      • 6
        1

        Real L,
        The answer to the first question: It is happening right now.

        Since the country under unofficial dictatorship, it is difficult to believe that the law is applied impartially.

        I think that there is no argument against the the final conclusion.

        BTW, your guess that I’m a Thambi is wrong!

        • 5
          1

          DP,
          I am a fan of your comments.
          .
          These people would radically assume anyone stand against Rajapakhese to be either LTTERs or Muslims.
          :
          Not even little tolerance seems to be in their heads, even we all regardless of the race, were under a civil war went upto 3 decades.

          Please just ignore the kind of idiots, it is not worth commenting to them.
          :
          I wish you all the best-
          .
          Germany’s steps taken to contain the COVID 19 patients works realtively in favour of all .. as of today.
          :
          With the weather becoming sping-like.. people looks happy with smile in their faces.

          I am so glad, I should not live in SRILANKA – though I still love that country as my native place. But I dont go to change anyone down there… most of our people are uncultured, uneducated bastards. That has lot do with the RAJAPAKSHE mafia, being held in every corneres of the country. Brain washing machineries are in place (Deerana TV, Hiru TV and Sirassa TV)

          • 2
            1

            Frustrated s,
            Thanks!

            No, I don’t get frustrated by those type of comments. On the contraray, they motivate me more.

          • 0
            0

            Frustrated Sinhalaya

            We are lucky and glad that people like you are not living in our country.

      • 6
        1

        When a commenter resorts to derogatory or racist name calling, it mean they have nothing credible to say, can’t defend the indefensible, and are basically an ignorant racist.

        • 4
          1

          The country voted for change in Nov 2019. They are getting the the change they wanted. Terror which will soon turn into abduction , intimidation and murder. Anybody who voices their opinion against the murder will be called and anti nationalist , terrorist a NGO type , Western lackey. Get used to it my fellow Sri Lankans. Life with the Rajapakse’s is here now sit back and enjoy the ride for the next 5 years.

          • 4
            0

            Rajapakshas are here because of Ranil’s 25 year loosing spree.

  • 7
    23

    I thought this article is to present evidence that Mr Hisbolla is a good person and has nothing to do with Terrorism..
    In fact I thought this would be a sort of an Affidavit for Mr Hizbolla’s character.

    Bu the last sentence casting a slur of the Boss of the Appeal Court in Lankawe , which would be involved in the hearing of this Court case makes me wonder whether the writer is a genuine supporter who wants to help the Solicitor.
    Or is he trying to have a go at the Appeal Court Boss for some reason?..

    • 5
      2

      KASmaalam K.A. Sumanasekera

      “I thought this article is to present evidence that Mr Hisbolla is a good person and has nothing to do with Terrorism..”

      I thought for you Gota’s or Mahinda’s corrupt supporters of SLPP (earlier SLFP) are the only trustworthy, good, honourable, smart patriotic, part of 7 Million, non Vellala, Non Abrahamic, ……

      While being an official b***s carrier to the clan, how come you are looking for goodness among OTHERS?

  • 2
    19

    Good.
    That’s the way they are supposed to work……

  • 32
    5

    Such blatant impersonation, the abuse of surveillance and COVID contact tracing, and the high-handed manner in which the brilliant lawyer and civil rights activist was taken into custody along with one of his client’s files clearly show GOTA-MILITARY JUNTA is what is ruling the country today. The action was illegal and criminal. How can there be rule of law when the president himself is an illegal impersonator. This shop-minder from the US and the alleged perpetrator of many horrendous crimes is yet to prove that he’s a Sri Lankan citizen.

    • 3
      10

      Mr. Ajey,
      /
      What “”abuse of surveillance and COVID contact tracing”” ?
      That’s how intelligence agencies work world over you idiot.
      And in “”high-handed manner”” how else you idiot…?
      And….
      “”president himself is an illegal impersonator””
      “”yet to prove that he’s a Sri Lankan citizen””
      What nonsense are you talking about…?
      President’s citizenship is no doubt for anyone…….
      /
      Not for the Sri Lankan courts which decided that there is no legal issue in his citizenship.
      /
      Not for the independent election commission which decided that there is no legal issue in his citizenship.
      /
      Not for the other candidates………
      /
      Not for the US ambassador…..
      /
      Not for THE PEOPLE of SL who elected him as president.
      /
      Get lost.

    • 1
      1

      Citizenship: I suggest that a national hero in the Army corners him, points a pistol and
      question his true Citizenship – then decide to use his pistol for the sake of the Citizens
      on the answer he gives!

  • 22
    2

    The present regime is sending a strong signal, and all the Lawyers in Sri Lanka better wake up and take notice. You can be arrested without proof of crimes, and for representing some criminal, that you represented a decade ago, not knowing he was going to be arrested 10 years later. What kind of justice is this? Does this even make sense? This is an outrage, and shame on Mr., Hizbullah’s colleagues who are not raising hell about this.

    We are certainly looking more and more like a dictatorship. Even the judges are corrupt and in the pockets of the Rajapaksa regime. How can anyone get justice?
    The American President of Sri Lanka, is willing to trample the constitution, and the laws, to win elections. He does not care who he will hurt in the process, especially Muslims.

  • 4
    6

    Ask Rishad Bathiuddin, he would say that is not true and everything is politics.

  • 5
    12

    Asymmetric tactics and warfare from terrorist need to counter with similar tactics. Ask former army commander if you need help on that. This guy was arrested for certain disturbing chain of events that raised more questions and are quite disturbing . If he is innocent he will be freed but wait and see how this case evolve since we are still after the mastermind and foreign funding and still active cells in the country.

  • 10
    1

    Don’t be mistaken the once Who promotes racism to capture power has no difference between good and bad or Sinhala Muslim or Tamil all are fair game for them. If the Sinhalese Buddhist think they somehow are immune from being victims think again

    • 1
      1

      Let’s not forget Rathupaswela. There we saw the Rajapaksa’s true colors.
      They took the side of a polluter, and ignored the people’s plea for clean water. People in that area should never had voted for these murderers.

  • 9
    1

    I think the CIA spied on Bin Laden by conducting a bogus Anti-Polio ( or some such thing) research in the vicinity of his house in Abottabad in Pakistan where he was hiding with several of his wives. Our intelligence is copying these methods , perhaps with much smaller budgets and less sophistication. A Pakistani doctor involved in this research was later harassed. He probably was not aware of what the CIA was after, and was working for the dollars

  • 5
    11

    It appears sleuths have recently unearthed fresh information about events leading to the senseless killings on 21/04/2019 , and had found it necessary to question legal luminary Mr. Hizbullah . His very close connection to Mr. Ibrahim , the father of the suicide bombers may have led to his detention.The theory that Mr. Ibrahim had no knowledge of his sons’ sinister plans is far fetched , given that the rest of his family blew themselves up on being approached by security forces immediately after the Easter massacre . They had obviously been very well trained for such an eventuality .

  • 4
    1

    Pro Government media channels tarred the lawyer with the label of terrorist within hours of his arrest. Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great.
    Report created to analyze & patterned to corner people

  • 5
    1

    just because he knew a guy whose children committed act of terrorism,does it mean that he too is a terrorist?Let alone this lawyer,i don’t think even the father should be held in custody.

  • 8
    1

    Why do I get the feeling that there is a strong whiff of rotten fish that comes from the the many obviously interested parties who will ‘profit’ in this escapade. In the end, it looks like a case of ‘charge the man, and we will find the evidence to fit the charge’.

  • 2
    2

    Hyenas are out in packs for blood with loads of speculations.
    Nevertheless………………………………………. There is no smoke without a fire.
    On the other hand, in the current environment CID would not take in anyone without any credible facts.
    The manner the arrest was made the method used can not be questioned as anyway he would be arrested.
    What is the fuss BASL is making? Are Lawyers untouchables?
    There is Haebeas Corpus application in Court and rationality for the arrest will be known.

    It can be for Terrorists activity or Connected with and /or Concerned in Terrorist activity.
    Being a lawyer does not provide immunity.

    • 0
      1

      Read again.
      ““No reasons for arrest, entering residence of lawyer in the guise of public health officials during a pandemic to conduct a search, handcuffed at home when being searched, perusing/taking court files of an attorney from his chambers. This is atrocious,” he tweeted after the Hizbullah’s father filed the Habeas Corpus petition.

      Former ICTA Chairman Dr Rohan Samarajiva also took to Twitter to note that the manner in which the CID had gone about the arrest of the prominent lawyer destroyed the credibility of the Government’s COVID19 contact tracing and surveillance. “This is how you destroy trust in contact tracing by Sri Lanka health authorities,” Dr Samarajiva said referring to details in the Habeas Corpus application.

      Others pointed out that the impersonation of a public official is a crime under Sri Lankan law. Section 168 of the Penal Code states that the offence of impersonating a public official – such as a Ministry of Health officer – and carrying out acts as one holds a punishment of two years in prison or a fine or both.”

      You are no expert in anything, but reading articles carefully before making baseless comments, may be the intelligent thing to do.

  • 2
    2

    Mahinda invited Gota with a plan which is eliminating Muslims, Tamils anD Christian Sinhalese.
    What they saying is that Muslims, Tamils and Christian Sinhala has no right to open their mouth. Even UNP and JVP on their side. They know this is the time suitable to do everything they want because no one will question their atrocities and they can cover with Corona. They mights say to WHO that they made an error in counting the deaths as China did to cover up.

    • 1
      1

      Once blood sucker would never become normal – that is the case with Mahinda Rajapakhe.
      :
      Day before Y day ballige putha PUT the pressure on HOLDING election. TOday, the number of CORONA patients is the highest sofar… which 67 more ..
      Ballige puthas have no hearts, let the people be caught by CORONA.
      i HAVE NO doubt, these rascals… loot the sums and leave let this nation in a lurch.
      :
      Good riddance to the people – since they dont respect respectable leaders.
      God save srilanka.

  • 1
    1

    President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva should also be arrested for preventing the arrest of a notorious war criminal and protecting him and getting him off the hook!

    Also, the CID will not arrest buggers like Wasantha Karannagoda even though several summons have been issued for his arrest!

    • 0
      1

      Stan.
      You have hit the nail on its head.
      To date EX.Navy Commander has not responded to several summons issued by court.
      We may then ask why is the CID selective in upholding the LAW.?

  • 2
    2

    CID ( Crooks In Disguise )

  • 5
    4

    <<<>>>

    Who writes this rubbish? There is NO attorney-client privileges for cases that fall under the PTA? Period. The investigations related the Spice traders fall under the PTA even though the cases this lawyer appeared for do not. But by relation they are all part and parcel of the terrorism act.

  • 1
    1

    I am surprised that Hizbullah handed over the clients files. That lawyer client information I thought was sacrosanct. Even under duress it is not acceptable. What credibility could be attach to any lawyer for an act like this. If this is is the future then let us forget any justice in this country.
    Will the law association wake up before this happens to them also

  • 3
    2

    Thanks Rtd. Lt. Reginald Shamal Perera for the clarification. You spared me a lot of reading into Lankan matters. I knew something has to be there in the case of terrorism and treason, and this makes sense.

    The Easter Sunday massacre is a manifestation of the most barbaric, utterly radicalized Moslem thinking that even puts the Palestinian and Afghan radicals to shame. The suicide bombers used the most lethal explosives available so that they cannot be identified from the smithereens after the blast. Indeed if it was close to that even though not quite. For any skeptic this should be sufficient information to fathom that ALL MOSLEMS must be in a database, all their DNA, biometrics, blood types, facial recognition, and all possible metrics. ABSOLUTELY necessary if Lanka is to have a safe future. These monsters are going to do this again. I alone have been screaming on CT that this was coming, despite occasional censure by CT folks. The next attack will be so lethal and they will definitely target Gotaby and his team. They will pay Sinhalese cuckold traitors handsomely to give them the chance for the next attack. Everyone must warn Gotaby and his team about this immediately. The Taqqia master on CT are obviously trying to distract the readers here and keep them stupid and docile. Moslem monsters do not belong in the society until they are fully vetted and I assure you, in the vetting process over 80% will be found to be radicalized. Remember, of all the fanatic Moslems in the world it was the Lankan cannibals who immediately decided to commit suicide by blowing themselves up to get to Fidraus heaven. They answered Bagdadis call with alacrity. They will do the same from similar vultures again.

  • 0
    0

    World is on look out for Abuse of justice whoever Responsible in Any country on.d world Order (The WO Respects is a Must)
    As time has come d international Courts in Hague n country representative report d behavior world wide how d country ruled by its leaders
    Regrets most elderly frail leaders dont understand first how long their life span will last for ? And what good hv i done to tis Peoples n world?
    Srilanka d 3rd World poor nation cannot afford to HV anymore Set back 40 odd reversed d Srilanka economy years faced by communal n political Admin lust furture genarationS tearS drops will flood mGraves n evil Soul will not RIP

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