The Ministry of Justice is to present a bill amending the Criminal Procedure court shortly to allow the Police to detain a suspect for 48 hours instead of the 24 specified by the Criminal Procedure Code prior to producing suspects before a magistrate.
amendment also has specified a list of crimes for which it will operate including, murder robbery and rape. The main intention of the introduction of the amendment is the need to immediately arrest the alarming levels of crime rate prevalent in the country, highly placed sources in the Ministry of Justice said.
The extension of the detention period for suspects was first enacted in 2007 by way of a special provisions act. The special provisions act was limited for a period of two years at the time it was introduced. However the Minister of Justice sought to extend the act in September 2011. It was pointed out at the time by Presidents Counsel MP Wijedasa Rajapaksha that the special provisions act expired in May 2009 and that there was no law to extend.
Subsequently the Ministry of Justice took steps to re introduce the act as an amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code and had sought the view of the BASL .
Wijeydasa Rajapaksha MP and President of the Bar association of Sri Lanka speaking on the amendment said that the BASL supported the move due to the increase in crime rates. “The increase in crime rates is unprecedented and this might help curb the alarming levels of the crime rates prevalent in the country” he said.
When the Daily Mirror pointed out that this might lead to torture of suspects Rajapaksha said that the amendment will have little impact in the torture prevalent in Police stations. “Even if the amendments were not brought and the law stayed as it is the torture would not stop. To this end the BASL has done everything possible to ensure that lawyers and suspects rights are safeguarded by the Police so that they could have access to suspects within Police custody.The amendment has also allowed relatives and family members to visit suspects held in custody ” he said.
Rajapaksha went onto state that the IGP had provided the BASL a guarantee to the effect that the lawyers rights within Police stations would be safeguarded and they would be given direct access to the suspects held in custody. “This settlement was agreed in the Supreme Court and the IGP agreed to issue directives to the Police which guarantee free access of lawyers and compels the Police to treat lawyers in a dignified manner” . The directive is to be gazzetted shortly Rajapaksha said. (Hafeel Farisz)
Does this matter when the white van is action. This was brought up during the BBC interview and there was no answer.
sangeetha Saturday, 02 June 2012 08:58 AM
More TORTURE TIME...way to go Sri Lanka. Way to go.
deva Saturday, 02 June 2012 08:19 PM
good way to earn money for the so called law portector.
Faleel Saturday, 02 June 2012 09:19 AM
Finally, a sensible move. Hope for further straight action regarding criminals.
Naman Saturday, 02 June 2012 09:12 PM
In Sri Lanka, there are different types of criminals. The ONE who supports the government is free to carry on with his/hers activities. If you are against the government even if you have NOT done any criminal activities,you will be the target for the white van---tortured and murdered. Suspects should be treated as innocent until proven otherwise.
Ram Perera Saturday, 02 June 2012 10:51 PM
I agree with SamIf no questioning is to take place unless a family member or a lawyer i present it is welcome. Further the suspect must be produced before a Magistrate within 24 hours and Police must seek another 24 hour extention. If done properly that may save the suspect from assault. Ram
kira Sunday, 03 June 2012 12:26 AM
"Too late Thousands of rupees short" All way's late.
kapa Saturday, 02 June 2012 10:26 AM
within 24 hours of custody, suspects ended up in hospitals and morgues. Within 48? Damn ..surely 6 feet under without a postmortem.
Supun Perera Saturday, 02 June 2012 11:45 AM
Not a surprise, when you live in a corrupt, lawless Banana Republic. When citizens have no faith in the politicised Police Force and the Justice system, it is like living in hell.
Vendetta Saturday, 02 June 2012 12:23 PM
Not to be the one who defends the government, but I believe this Bill has its merits. True enough it can increase the time limit that the police tortures, but what we must understand is that the police tortures to get information more quickly due to the short span of only 24 hours to work with. Furthermore within 24 hours getting a magistrate, contacting family members etc becomes virtually impossible. But this window is probably widened by a 48 hour limit. Eases the pressure on the Police as well.
So like I said, possibly this bill has its merits.
hansan Saturday, 02 June 2012 01:09 PM
Are these moves coming after UN order , But brining out by the UNP men supported by MR. These are the nomal civil society law for the people , But it was ignored and shame fullyinterducing due to Pressure from Clinton to our yes man GL.
Calistus Jayatilleke Sunday, 03 June 2012 06:07 AM
Considering the things that happen inside a Police station within a matter of 24-hours currently, one dreads to think the consequences of keeping a suspect for twice that time. Double Trouble!
Sam Saturday, 02 June 2012 01:32 PM
More important is to allow an attorney to be allowed to be with and advise the 'suspect' before and during interrogation. No interrogation should be allowed without the immediate presence of an attorney if the 'suspect' or his family demands same.
Richardson Sunday, 03 June 2012 10:17 PM
You guys can get away with bribes,Others get more torture time.
What? Saturday, 02 June 2012 03:41 PM
The rule of law would demand that the suspect--no matter what--has legal representation from the moment he enters custody.
Mayu Saturday, 02 June 2012 06:32 AM
Learn from Singapore Minister while he is there!
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