The private and unofficial bar criticized the Police and the Attorney General’s Department on the continued detention of prisoners arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and persons suspected of terrorism against whom no cases have yet been filed.
A harthal was held in the North this week in support of the hunger strike in which certain prisoners are engaged in, expressing favour with regard to the demand for the transfer of their cases from the court in Anuradhapura to Vavuniya, and the other demands pertaining to the speeding up of the said cases and the seeking of the release of all the political prisoners.
The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) explained that while in certain cases, the delays on the part of the Attorney General with regard to issuing instructions resulted in prolonged detention owing to the postponement of the matters due to the lack of proper indictments, while in certain other cases, the Police stations were at fault for not providing the Attorney General with the information book (IB) extracts, which are required in order for the Attorney General to decide whether a prima facie case exists, to file indictments.
President of the BASL, President’s Counsel Udaya Rohan De Silva said that there were a lot of persons taken in for offences coming within the purview of the Prevention of Terrorism Act and narcotics related matters, who are presently languishing in remand prison without their cases being filed.
“The BASL has insisted that the matter be looked into very quickly and something be done. Yet, the authorities have forgotten about it. No one cares. No one is being responsible in this regard. We have informed the Attorney General and the Ministry of Justice. It is very, very wrong to keep them like this. If the Attorney General is in possession of evidence of wrongdoing, papers must be filed in courts,” he added.