“The standing committee of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) on Rule of Law at its meeting on 10thMay decided to express its concern on the appointment of a commission regarding the unearthing of the mass grave in Matale, when in fact what is necessary is to proceed under the normal Law of the Country. Commissions of inquiry has throughout our history has been a modus adapted to sweep an issue under the carpet. It is noted that the Police has not yet taken even the most important step of recording of statements from persons who were in charge of security during the relevant period.” says it’s Convener Priyantha Gamage.
Issuing a statement he said today; “The failure of the Police, up to now, to make any progress in the investigations into the multiple attacks on the Udayan Newspaper and its staff is causing grave concern to those interested in protecting the freedom of expression and Rule of Law. This is a serious lapse considering the fact that a large security force is stationed in the area. This has led to much speculation regarding the attackers. Therefore we call upon the authorities in charge of the investigations to expedite the investigative process to bring the culprits before the law and in fairness to all those concerned to make a public statement as to the reasons for the failure to bring those who has committed these criminal acts before the law.”
“The detention of Azath Salley under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the drama that followed raises a serious question of the use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act to detain persons who are suspected to have committed offences that can be tried under the normal law of the country. What emerges is that this Act which is a piece of legislation that deprives a suspect of a fair trial in keeping with the fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution and the protection that an accused or a suspect is entitled to under the criminal law of the country is being used to harass persons who are critical of the government. This will give rise to a serious situation where dissent will be suppressed and the freedom of speech and assembly be deprived to selected citizens.” the Convener further said.