23 September, 2020

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In The National Interest BASL Should  Be In Forefront Of The Fight For Justice

By Javid Yusuf

Javid Yusuf

The arrest and detention of Attorney at Law Hejaaz Hizbullah purportedly in connection with investigations relating to the Easter Sunday bombings of April 21,2019  has had an unexpected fall out with 216 Attorneys at Law writing to the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) urging the BASL to refrain from intervening in the matter of his arrest.

The Lawyers in their letter dated April 29, 2020 (29th Letter) were responding to an earlier letter dated April 24,2020 (24th letter) addressed by 213 Attorneys at Law to the BASL raising concerns with regard to what they described as “the very serious situation surrounding the detention of Mr. Hejaaz Hizbullah.“ They went on to urge the BASL to “ ensure Mr. Hizbullah’s rights are guaranteed and due process is adhered to.”

Nowhere in their 7 page letter (24th letter) did the Attorneys at Law comment on the merits or otherwise of the subject matter of the investigations relating to Hejaaz Hisbullah’s detention but only requested the BASL to ensure that due process is adhered to. Yet  in their 14 page missive of 29th April, the signatories urged the BASL to keep out of the issue  and “allow the law enforcing authorities to conduct a free and fair investigation.”

Although the signatories to the 29th letter cited several arguments in support of their request to the BASL not to intervene, none of these arguments related to how the ensuring of due process of one of their colleagues would jeopardize any investigations that were being conducted by the Police.

Hejaaz Hizbullah

Most of the arguments in the 29th Letter relate to the importance of National Security and statements by the Police relating to the investigations. In fact  the contents  of what the Police spokesman stated at a media Conference  have been elevated to “common public  Knowledge” of evidence of Hejaaz Hizbullah’s “involvement in extremist or extremist related activities.”  

Clearly what the Police spokesman stated was a mere statement of the Police position with regard to the investigations and is always subject to scrutiny and review by the Courts. To go to the extent of attributing to this Police position the status of “common knowledge “ is clearly unfair by Hejaaz Hizbullah. It is as bad as referring to him as “one  Hejaaz Hisbullah” in the 29th letter despite him being sufficiently well known among the legal fraternity in Hulftsdorf.

The Attorneys at Law who wrote to the BASL by their letter of April 24th limited themselves to a request for the BASL to ensure due process and to ensure that his rights are safeguarded in the process of investigation. The rights that the letter referred to are the very rights that any lawyer would urge for his client in any court of law and does not in any way impinge on the guilt or otherwise of the offence with he is charged. These are rights that are universally accepted to protect individuals and to ensure they obtain a fair and independent investigation and trial.

In fact such safeguards such as the presumption of innocence while protecting the life, liberty and security of every individual also ensures the truth relating to the subject matter of the investigation not only being elicited but also those responsible being held accountable.

Whether the BASL should or should not  intervene in any matter does not really depend on whether or not it relates to a member or not as suggested in the 29th letter. The remit of the BASL goes much further and relates to all issues relating to the Rule of Law, administration of Justice, Democracy and Justice.

This is understandable since the very nature of the Legal profession is to ensure that the rights of a lawyer’s client are not encroached upon in any form whether it is from the State or any other Agency. Indeed the bread and butter of  every member of the legal profession is earned through zealously fighting for the rights of those on behalf of whom one has been called upon to appear.

The independence and integrity of the legal profession is the bedrock on which the independence of the judiciary is built on. As the  24th letter points out  since a free, fearless and independent legal profession is one of the most important features of a democracy to protect rights of individuals, it is the duty of the leadership of the professional body to do its utmost to defend the ability to function as lawyers, without obstruction, fear or favour.

The 29th letter argues that  the BASL’s intervention in the matter of Hejaaz Hisbullah can erode the important influence it has with the authorities. However  the BASL’s actions should not be governed by its desire to be in the good books of the authorities but should rather be to ensure that it is a voice for Justice, Rule of Law and Democracy. 

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Latest comments

  • 14
    13

    Mr Yusuf, where have yoou been?
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    Didn’t you see the BASL members’ petition, signed by 218 or so, requesting the president to hold the Rule of Law in relation to search, prosecution and punishment of terrorism suspects?
    =
    BASL ought to be congratulated for not demanding special favours to a terrorism suspect, held under the country’s law for questioning, just because he is a lawyer.
    =
    You shouldn’t expect such treatment either, because the suspect, and you, are Muslims.
    =
    Though we accept that all Muslims are terrorists, it has been proven beyond any doubt that all terrorists are Muslims.
    =
    So stop the nonsense of demanding special treatment to a terrorism suspect because he is a muslim!

    • 9
      0

      1. Please give us credible proof of what exactly he has been accused of.
      It is strange you, a troll, seem to know exactly what the charges are.

      2. As for all terrorists being Muslim, you seem to forget the terrorists in uniform, who have killed, and bombed, innocent people.

      “A March report by Physicians for Social Responsibility calculates the body count of the Iraq War at around 1.3 million, and possibly as many as 2 million. However, the numbers of those killed in Middle Eastern wars could be much higher. In April, investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed argued that the actual death toll could reach as high as 4 million if one includes not just those killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also the victims of the sanctions against Iraq, which left about 1.7 million more dead, half of them children, according to figures from the United Nations.”

      The proof is in the numbers.

    • 5
      1

      Terrorists in Modi’s India:

      “Since the Modi administration first took office, BJP leaders have repeatedly made Hindu nationalist and anti-Muslim remarks in their speeches and interviews. These have, at times, encouraged and even incited violent attacks by party supporters who believe they have political protection and approval. They have beaten Muslim men for dating Hindu women. Mobs affiliated to the BJP have, since 2015, killed and injured scores of members of religious minorities amid rumors that they traded or killed cows for beef. In February 2019, BJP supporters threatened and beat several Kashmiri Muslim students and traders, apparently to avenge a militant attack on a security forces convoy.”
      Human Rights Watch

      “In 2017, researchers with the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, or START (which is hosted at the University of Maryland), told ABC News that Muslims are “absolutely” the most likely people to be victims of terrorist attacks worldwide. William Braniff, the executive director of START, explained that his team’s data showed that the vast majority of terrorist attacks occur in Muslim-majority countries, and that the majority of victims of terrorism are Muslim.”

      Facts to your anti Muslim propaganda.

      • 8
        3

        Ok, let’s talk about Modi’s India then.

        First of all India’s history didn’t begin with Modi. The so-called Indian Republic was preceded by 400 years of European colonialism, enabled by Muslim, Moghul terrorists after nearly 1000 years of blood sucking.

        You have the gall to complaint about Modi’s anti-Muslim discrimination in typical devious, dishonest manner in the extreme.
        =
        You, as a Moor who arrived in Sri Lanka from that area can’t be totally ignorant of the worst form of suffering enforced on Hindu Indians by Islamic criminals of Arab, Turkish, Mughal and Afghan kinds. Nadir Shah made a mountain of the skulls of the Hindus he killed in Delhi alone. Babur raised towers of Hindu skulls at Khanua when he defeated Rana Sanga in 1527 and later he repeated the same horrors after capturing the fort of Chanderi. Akbar ordered a general massacre of 30,000 Rajputs after he captured Chithorgarh in 1568. The Bahamani Sultans had an annual agenda of killing a minimum of 100,000 Hindus every year. This is not to mention economic plunder and destruction of Hindu temples.
        =
        You want more? There’s not enough space here.
        =
        So don’t cry ‘poor us’ in our country that has seen the true colours of your terrorism as recently as 12 months ago.
        =
        You make me puke, hajji.

        • 4
          0

          Go puke buddy…hope Modi has built you a nice toilet nearby, or is the nearest street corner okay?

          So your hatred for the Muslims presently does stem from the middle ages.

          “The roots of anti-Muslim violence can be traced to India’s past– resentment towards the historic Islamic conquest of India during the Middle Ages, the policy of divide et impera (‘Divide and Rule’) utilised by the British colonizers to regain their political hold after the successful revolt of 1857 (which was enabled in good measure by Muslim traders and rulers of the time)[5], and the violent partition of India into an Islamic state of Pakistan and a largely-Hindu India with the world’s second largest Muslim population.

          A major factor in the rising tide of violence against Muslims is the proliferation of Hindu-nationalist parties, which work alongside or under the political umbrella of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh[6]. The present Bharatiya Janata Party-government is also an affiliate of the RSS and adheres to the Hindutva-ideology of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and MS Golwalkar. Considered the ideologues of the RSS and other Hindu-nationalist organisations, Savarkar and Golwalkar were open-admirers of Hitler and Mussolini and their rules of Nazism and Fascism, respectively[7]”

          People who follow the Hindutva ideology need to get help, they have been brainwashed and ingrained with hate, because of the Middle ages. I can get more too, there is plenty of information about Modi’s India, and it’s racist policies. How about those cow vigilantes?
          We should call them “terrorists” too.

    • 3
      0

      Still waiting for your proof that this lawyer is a terror suspect. You have commented with such certainty, so do tell us here what the charges are. You must be well versed in Sri Lankan law.

    • 3
      0

      You must be well versed in Sri Lankan law.
      Still waiting for your proof that this lawyer is a terror suspect. You have commented with such certainty, so do tell us here what the charges are, since you seem to know.

  • 2
    0

    Even all the terrorist are muslims the 216 Attorneys at Law writing to the Bar Association of Sri Lanka
    taking it up for this lawyer withou any proof is reflecting defferent direction taking minds to desire what the situation demands. in election time

  • 6
    4

    I find it amazing and often amusing to see that Muslim writers (authors) see it fitting to defend a suspect on this forum ONLY if they happen to be Muslim. I have yet to see a Muslim writer express an opinion piece on a matter where the “victimised” suspect is not a Muslim. I believe it is important that Muslims, yearning to be treated as equal citizens in Sri Lanka also learn to consider fellow citizens as Sri Lankan and feel for them, even when they’re not Muslim. Perhaps then, the mainstream community will also learn to regard their fellow citizen Muslims as being worthy of acceptance as equals.

    • 5
      1

      Looking at the racial ground like this will not undermine writing for fellow citizens. Asking the question from people who stand for rule of law is not fair and disgusting.

      But 200 odds lawyers asking BASL not to ensure the rule of law with regard to the arrest of its member is noting but utter racist mindset. According to the laws of the country, the police can not detain the suspect without producing court beyond limited time and clearly violated all of the procedures.

      Similar to those 200 odds racist lawyers, you (Lasantha) too splitting your racist cards here. Shame on you.

    • 4
      1

      Don’t be amazed, minorities are always quick to defend their own, in any situation. They know the majority would never stand up for them, and they always had to fend for themselves. Did the country see any leader from the majority speak out and condemn the violence against them when their homes were attacked, burnt, and businesses looted?
      How about when Muslims were murdered?

      They were mute, silent, and indifferent. So where was YOUR outrage, after all it was not about writing an article, but losing lives, which is worse, right?

      Muslims however do not discriminate when they feed the poor and hungry near hospitals, nor do they discriminate when they hire workers for their businesses. They have contributed towards the progress of our country, even fighting for the country in wars.

      NO CITIZEN MUST PROVE THEMSELVES IN SOME FORM OR THE OTHER, TO BE ACCEPTED AS EQUALS IN THE COUNTRY OF THEIR BIRTH. THEY ARE EQUALS WITHOUT CONDITION.

      It is attitudes like yours that are ridiculous, juvenile, and racist.

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