By Tassie Seneviratne –
The killing referred here is not of criminals or suspects in police custody. The killing this time is of police officers which takes a form of political victimization of police officers for duty done! This fact does not deter or agitate the new killing brigade dealing with Shani Abeysekera (SA), lately of the CID. It does not matter to the new executing brigade that SA has been highly commended by the government for good work done! For it is the very good work SA has done that has brought on his misfortune – the wrath of present government leaders. The B report holds out the work SA has done. These reports of SA have been endorsed by the AG and others. No political victimization is however visited on the AG. Only SA has been singled out to be remanded, not the others in that process. It is just too much for Justice Minister Ali Sabry to enter the fray. He will dance to the others. Minister Ali Sabry’s tune will rhyme with those of the hierarchy.
For whatever intents and purposes, holding SA in remand custody is a patently punitive action, whereas the law does not provide the process of remand for punishment. Remanding a suspect is only with a view to assist the investigation by preventing him interfering with witnesses or from leaving the country. Minister of Justice Ali Sabry knows this only too well. Can anyone with any stretch of imagination say that SA can influence witnesses whilst all the king’s men and the entire king’s horses are there to protect them?
The Minister Sabry can play on his own flute since the whole criminal justice process runs on a discordant note. It is surely unnecessary to recount the dysfunction of the criminal justice system once police investigations are handed over to them for further action. The cacophony in the criminal justice system sounds reverberating. The malperformance of the system and the failure of the justice administration and its malfunction have brought on a gold mine for those who would dig into it. The fact is that all the inadequacies in the criminal justice process are remunerative at the base, with laws delay and the lot. It is a muddy swamp. The water is so shallow that the fish can be caught just by hand.
There is much to do in the Justice Ministry to clear the mud. Shani Abeysekera has apparently been remanded for allegedly fabricating evidence against DIG Vaas Gunawardena by falsely introducing guns to the latter. This item of fabricated evidence had not figured in the original reports to court and to the AG. DIG Vaas Gunawardena was convicted after trial, after witnesses testified under oath, after witnesses were cross-examined. That position has been so for over two years with the AG. No indictment has been filed by the AG through these two years, or other reports made to court. This piece of alleged fabrication of evidence has transpired only after two years. And today SA is remanded for this alleged fabrication of evidence. Is there not a serious dereliction of duty on the part of the AG? Should not the Minister of Justice Ali Sabry check this?
Minister Sabry, strangely, shrewdly and dubiously, at this point of time changed turf, from justice to police, and wanted a lawyers’ brigade for the Police – a diverting ploy. The brigade idea is an age-old trick. We have heard of the Purple brigade and some other names. They all had a sinister purpose. They soon died out as they got exposed. Is Minister Al Sabry innocent of this? No, he is not; but he keeps fishing. The lawyers brigade to the Police can also be a Machiavellian ploy of sending ‘colonies’ clearly for infiltration into the Police, – see ‘The Prince’ chapter iii pg 9 para 2. (Niccolo Machiavelli was a political philosopher, diplomat and writer- ‘The Prince’ was written in 1513) This again is an age-old game. Minister Weerasekera is in charge of the Police. Is he non-functional that Minister Ali Sabry is intruding into the Police leaving his own area of Justice blatantly neglected? Such intrusion cannot be for good reasons. Was Minister Sabri acting on his own in his endeavor to infiltrate the police with a lawyers’ brigade? Or was he voicing the thinking at the top? Due to a spate of protests, especially from the police, this was given up.
Karl Marx said of some, ‘Their religion is money’. Is it not the same problem of money that besets our criminal justice process here, money running through the veins of the process? The specific issue here is the continued remand of SA. Is money running this issue too? For today, we hear of a mantra nidhos nidhas echoing through the halls of justice. Do we not? Can Minister Ali Sabry hear this? And, so, the mantra is chanted, many high-level cases are disposed of by next morning. Theft of mangoes can wait. Oath of office too has evaporated with the money. No oath intoned with religious fervor, from high to low, has served its purpose, in Parliament, and in the Executive. Minister Sabry is well aware of this. Court cases drag on and on. The doctrine of separation of powers helps the crawl. So, the chant goes nidhos nidhas which brings in the money return. This is in the process.
In the executive sphere Minister Sabry now wants to sing the same hymn nidhos nidhas to the prisoners in the prison. This expediency can be appreciated since the law does not help. This idea is also in recognition that the law itself and its process are ineffective; much waste of time. The public know this well. But the problem confronting Minister Sabry is the case of SA. This case too drags on. But Minster Sabry will not intervene as he has done with the other cases. This he will not dare to do just to save his own skin. And where is the BASL in all this? The BASL webinars are conveniently elsewhere.
What then is left? A little prose and poetry!
“To punish someone for your own mistakes or for the consequences of your own actions, to harm another by shifting blame that is rightly yours; this is a wretched and cowardly sin.” Richelle E. Goodrich – A modern author of many books and poems and continues to write and is widely read.
I, too, am inspired to state Shani’s case in verse:
Ode to Shani Abeyasekera
(Director/Criminal Investigations Dept.)
By Tassie Seneviratne.
Shani stood his ground a dread
Whence all but he had fled
At mention of his tormentors’ name
Intimidation being name of the game.
Rights activist for Shani fight
Retirees join seeing his plight.
World interest his cause has earned
Victimization they have spurned.
When all is said and done
Shani will have surely won.
Then a chorus all will sing:
“Shani’s a role-model to the brim”.
*The writer is a Retired Senior Superintendent of Police