Chairman of Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL), Lakshan Dias, charged that the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) was not adhering to directives issued by the President and the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) with regard to access to detainees taken in under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
Attorneys-at-Law Anjana Dinesh and Lakshan Dias recently filed a fundamental rights petition in the Supreme Court (SC) on behalf of the latter’s client, Aiyathurai Mohanadas who claims that he was unlawfully arrested and detained for a month. The Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Director of the TID have been named as the respondents in the case.
Dias said that he had only been granted access to his client just once even though it was not required that he sought the permission of the TID to do so due to a set of directives issued by the President and the HRCSL in this regard.
“There is also a settlement agreement reached between the IGP and the SC in relation to this which is monitored by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) and the National Police Commission (NPC),” he explained.
“For the past 15 years, access has been denied, and this is a widespread practice,” Dias noted while adding that complaints too had previously been lodged at the HRCSL pertaining to such matters.
Accordingly, one of the directives includes giving the detainee receipt of his detention. Dias alleged that the Director of the TID had claimed that he was unaware of the said directives and that they had not been conveyed to the TID.
“The HRCSL directives also involve sending an officer to meet the client. An officer is not a lawyer. There is a big difference. These directives have been conveyed to the TID, given and even handed over to them,” Dias added.
“If the President’s directives are not being complied with and are violated in this fashion, is it from the queen of England or the United Nations Secretary General that we have to get directives that the TID will follow?” he asked.Attempts to reach out to DIG Priyantha Jayakody were not successful.