19 July, 2024


Letter To Tiran

To Mr. Tiran Alles MP, Minister of Public Security,

We are writing this letter to you as members of the Lawyers Collective. We will send copies to the President and Prime Minister, and will place the letter in the public domain. We are doing so because we consider the manner in which you are exercising your powers in the “Yukthiya” Anti Drug  Campaign,  a matter of grave public concern.

Citizens of the country will endorse your decision to conduct a campaign to address the drug problem and try to eliminate its adverse impact on their lives. It would have been best if the campaign had been commenced when you took office, rather than in the election year 2024. In any event this campaign must conform to the Rule of Law. It cannot be a passionate, personal, initiative that you seek to implement outside the law. The manner in which you are conducting this campaign and making public statements on the media indicates the following:

1) that you will consider any laws that you think restrict your authority as “obstacles” that you have every right to disregard.

2) that you consider all who comment or criticise the manner in which the campaign is conducted to be drug dealers and drug addicts. You have chosen to target in particular, lawyers who do so. You have repeatedly referred to them in this manner, despite a statement from the Bar Association of Sri Lanka objecting to this  vicious attack on the legal profession.

3) You have also repeatedly stated on national TV networks that you will disregard any cautions on adhering to norms and standards of international law that apply to the State of Sri Lanka. You have stated that you will disregard them as “foreign and outside influences,” and that you are not bound to conduct the campaign with respect for international law and the views of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

4) You have also publicly stated repeatedly that you appointed Deshabandu Tennekoon as the Acting IGP because he was the best police officer to effectively conduct this Yukthiya Campaign.

We wish to point out that each of these statements indicate that you have no regard for the oath of office you have taken to hold that high office of a Minister with a sense of responsibility, and as a public trust, according to the laws and Constitution of our country. The Supreme Court, the apex court of our country, has repeatedly emphasised that there is no principle of absolute discretion in the exercise of administrative powers. You are required to respect the rights of citizens to freedom of expression and dissent, and the right of lawyers to fulfill their professional responsibilities. Your statements are a violation of the fundamental rights of citizens. They also fail to recognise the right of lawyers to represent clients. They do so in conformity with professional responsibilities to the Court, (rather than to the Executive or a Minister), in the administration of justice.

Your statements which amount to a rejection of international law show a surprising ignorance of the obligations of the State of Sri Lanka and its Government under ratified international human rights treaties. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is the nodal agency for facilitating the implementation of international law by States, at the national domestic level. Your disparaging remarks in this regard should be immediately restrained by the President on the advice of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who is also a senior member of the legal profession, holding the title of Presidents Counsel.

We  wish to conclude by pointing out that you personally cannot have any role in the appointment  of an IGP. This is a matter for the President and the Constitutional Council. Besides, the  Supreme Court has, in a recent case, found Deshabandu Tennekoon personally responsible for acts of torture, and a failure to fulfill his command responsibility to prevent torture by his team of police officers. This conduct amounts to a grave violation of the fundamental rights of a victim, and also a grave criminal offence under the Torture Act  of Sri Lanka.

We have addressed the Attorney General on the need to prosecute Deshabandu Tennakoon in conformity with our law. The inaction of the Police Commission in  failing, up to now, to take disciplinary action in conformity with the Supreme Court judgment is a matter of public concern. Their silence on this matter is also a breach of public trust in fulfilling their responsibility to ensure high  professional standards in the Police force of our country. Your own  personal endorsement of Deshabandu Tennakoon continuing in his post as IGP, and expression of confidence in him, amounts to a total violation of the rule of law as explained by the Supreme Court of our country. We wish to remind that it is this court that exercises the “judicial power of the people” in a democracy,  and no Minister of the Executive branch can act without respect for the powers of the Supreme Court in the important area of Administration of Justice.

We conclude this letter by requesting you to please understand the true meaning of “Yukthiya” as linked to the implementation of the Rule of Law  as stated in the Constitution, the Torture Act and other laws, and the decisions of the courts of law. It is unfortunate that as a Minister in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka you are acting as if you were exercising executive powers in a type of governance known as a dictatorship. We trust that the President and your colleagues, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Justice (both senior lawyers and President’s Counsel) will restrain your abuse of powers and enable the anti-drug campaign to be conducted with respect for the rule of law and the Supreme Court of the country.

On behalf of the Lawyers’ Collective

Mr. Rienzie Arsecularatne, President’s Counsel.
Professor Savitri Goonesekere, Attorney-at-Law, Former Vice Chancellor of University of Colombo.
Mr. Upul Jayasuriya, President’s Counsel, Former President – BASL
Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne, President’s Counsel
Mr. Geoffrey Alagaratnam, President’s Counsel, Former President – BASL
Mr. Dinal Phillips, President’s Counsel
Mr. Saliya Pieris, President’s Counsel, Former President – BASL
Mr. S.T. Jayanaga, President’s Counsel
Mr. Upul Kumarapperuma, President’s Counsel
Professor Deepika Udagama, Former Chairperson – HRCSL
Professor Camena Gunaratne
Mr. Harshana Nanayakkara, Attorney-at-Law
Mr. Srinath Perera, Attorney-at-Law
Ms. Ermiza Tegal, Attorney-at-Law
Mr. Manoj Nanayakkara, Attorney-at-Law

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Latest comments

  • 22

    I feel sorry for the high-ranking lawyers who have compiled this letter. They do not seem to understand that morons cannot comprehend the law or what is just. If the letter is indeed actually an attention-grabbing stunt, to discredit the rotten police force, then again its like playing a violin to a rabid and deaf dog hoping to calm it or make it see reason. There is only one language that brutes understand. The people must use that language one fine day and rid the nation of this scum from office.

    • 4

      “”””There is only one language that brutes understand. The people must use that language one fine day and rid the nation of this scum from office.”””””

      I wish I could know about the people you mention here?

      If they are about the people of Sri Lanka as voters, you can forget your hopes. They will never use their brains to cross vote.

      People are even more corrupt or indifferent without knowing what they are doing. I thought people would have voted for JVP-NPP in 2020 general election, but the outcome was just 3 Seats. Would they miraculously change their mind in next election ? Hardly believe, but miracles could happen.

      Psychoanalysts repeatedly say that our people have not learned to respect facts. Nor do they consider themselves rational.

      Sri Lankan people are not stable. They will change their minds for any small gain. They are stubborn like mules. The best examples were displayed in last November 2019 and 2020 eleciotn.

      • 0

        Dear LM: Your assertion that people of S/L are “brainless” is very primitive and outdated. Please note changes have taken place within the young generation and their influence on the older is being felt across the country. But still, there are a certain number who cannot adjust to changing situations and be creative to try out new mechanisms to face the ever-changing circumstances and situations. Fortunately, that number is in the minority.

        Please be prepared for the change.

  • 15

    Tiran Alles M.P. & Minister of Public Security strikes me as a Fascist and a Megalomaniac. It is very proper and considerate of the Lawyers’ Collective not to have dragged in the issue of his alleged, undeclared overseas assets in this admonition!

    • 10

      Isn’t he the one who bribed Prabakaran to scuttle Ranil’s chances ……. how come he is a powerful minister in Ranil’s cabinet? ……… Don’t tell me, Ranil our great president, is deficient in morals …….. after all he has the biggest collection of Buddhist books!

      Lawyers collective are trying to play a nonexistent legal game ……….. if they are worth their salt they should put him in prison for bribing Prabakaran …….. instead of writing the crook letters.

      • 1

        NF: Why only Tiran Alles? He was the “Go-Between” in that Bribe case. Tiran Alles explained all the relevant details in a video presentation after his house was burnt.

        According to the video presentation, the person who brought the cash to Tiran’s office was Basil Rajapakse . He must be made the first accused and inquired into how he got such a large sum of money in solid cash.

        Please be patient. This case will be opened in due course.

  • 2

    If so many lawyers see whats happening as legally out of order, why not adjust some areas to make right look.

  • 9

    Another fact that the Lawyers Collective seems to have excluded is to draw attention to the off-shore accounts that Minister Alles is said to have and the properties that are of substantial worth, he is said to own in foreign lands. Are his off-shore accounts legal. Do they warrant investigation? Has he declared these assessts? What are the sources of these funds? Have these questions been answered or ignored? If its the latter – why?

  • 15

    Irrespective of this strong letter, the citizens of the country should never forget Tiran is the one who negotiated and carried the bribe to Prabaharan to stop the voting of Tamils during the election. Such a crook who blocked people from voting should never have been appointed as a Minister. Ranil’s this action should not be forgotten when the next presidential election comes.

  • 13

    The author failed to mention that Minister Alles was appointed by a non elected President who also was not elected to the parliament. This temporary presidency should have been restricted to 3 months till a GE would be held.

    This is due to a serious flaw in the 1978 JRJ constitution.

    In a Democracy power flows through the ballot box.

  • 9

    I bet that the outcome of this letter is the expletive “I have got a love letter from a set of lawyers who are aiding drug trafficking to make the “Yuktiya” operation more humane and within the law so that the drug dealers can escape. Pooh!” and throw the letter to the wastepaper basket. The joker thinks that the honorific suffix PC stands not for “President’s Counsel” but “Police Constable” who can pushed and pulled by the “Tirannical Forces” (purposely misspelt for sarcasm) Now, it is buzzed in exalted circles a revision application is to be filed by the Attorney General seeking to set aside the “Siddhalepa Torture judgement”. Article 126(4) provides all the ammunition for that. The punishment of a villain and disabling the deranged too is a relief not only to the applicant but to the entire society and therefore the Apex court should impose the punishment for torture then and there and direct that these people should stand dismissed from the Police Service instead of dragging a Police Commission for it. This is what the string of PC’s must achieve in invoking the jurisdiction of the courts instead of writing “sermonizing” letters.

  • 3

    Dear lawyers collective
    Tiran Alles will put your letter to WP basket. Around forty civil society activist not attached to any political party had made a complaint to the CID and fought hard and got Keheliya Rambukwella arrested.
    You can get some advise from them and file a legal case against him and get him to the court. Then he will think that there is a thing called lawyers collective.

  • 6

    So how many drug LORDS have Tiran’s Yukthiya has brought to justice? So far we have seen a whole bunch of little drug pushers being thrown into police jeeps only ?

    Taking us again for a ride ?

    • 1

      Not long ago, the Supreme court indicted that Rajakshala’s wrong decisions were responsible for the collapse of the Sri Lankan economy. SRILANKA legal authories and systems have arrested them? not yet. …
      Sri Lankan intelligence knows that the Rajapaksas are safe, in human security and that power is above “law and order”: there are more and more idiots who continue to support the Rajapaksa thugs.

      PEOPLE S POWER IS ABOVE ANY TRUTHS. That is the same with MODI in india.
      Didn’t you see it among the people who gathered for the funeral of Sanath Nishantha last week? This is the situation in our country that protects sharks every day. However, punnaku drinkers can change with time. ONCE PEOPLE CHANGE THEIR THINKING WITH A PARADIGM SHIFT, a begining of a new era will usher.


  • 0

    Dear LM: “YOUKTHIYA SHOULD BE CONTINUED”. Of course YES. But not in the SHAPE and MANNER of executing it by the MAESTROS – Tiran Alles and A.I.G.P. D.Tennakoone. Do you know that every Police Divisions and OICs are given a QUOTA of arrests to be made and to facilitate them, they are provided with a list of names to be apprehended.

    For your information, two weeks back my neighbor’s son – Wimaladasa was arrested by the Police. I know this lad very well and he is a social activist who is on bail after being arrested for participation in the Aragalaya. When I contacted the Police, it was revealed that Wimaladasa’s name was on the list provided for search and arrest. This youth is now on Police Bail. I don’t know what that is. This is another way of implicating the Aragalaya participants.

    Today, in print Media, there is a letter addressed to Tiran Alles by the owning company of that Weligama hotel (H15). Please read that. You will be shocked to see how this President continues to protect this vagabond in the cabinet and attempt to confirm A.I.G.P.D Thennakoone.

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