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Supreme Court allows FR petition against Lohan Ratwatte

22 Oct 2021 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

Orders IGP to initiate investigation under criminal law 

  • The SC also issued an interim order to immediately transfer  the eight prisoners from Anuradhapura prison as a measure of ensuring  their security

BY Lakmal Sooriyagoda   

The Supreme Court yesterday issued an interim order directing the IGP to take action against the alleged criminal conduct on the part of State Minister Lohan Ratwatte at the Anuradhapura Prison.   

The Supreme Court ordered the IGP to initiate this investigation with Attorney General’s supervision. The progress of the investigation is to be informed to the Supreme Court as well.  

The Supreme Court also issued an interim order to immediately transfer the eight prisoners from Anuradhapura prison as a measure of ensuring their security.  

Eight prisoners detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) at the Anuradhapura prison had filed this Fundamental Rights petition through their Lawyers.  

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court also 
granted leave to proceed with this Fundamental 
Rights petition.  

Accordingly, Supreme Court three-judge-bench comprising Justice Gamini Amarasekara, Justice Yasantha Kodagoda and Justice Janak de Silva fixed the petition to be taken up for argument on February 15 next year.   
The Supreme Court decided to grant leave to proceed in terms of Article 11, 12(1) and 12(2).  

The petitioners are seeking an order in respect of the alleged serious offences committed by State Minister Ratwatte at the Anuradhapura Prison on I2th of September 2021.  

The petitioners are also seeking an interim order transferring them to a prison in the Northern Province where their cases are lodged.  

The petitioners stated that on the 12th of September around 6.05 pm, the ten detainees were asked to come out into the Prison complex courtyard. They said State Minister and another person who appeared to be his Secretary, some others who looked like his security detail and some Prison guards were there.   

They said State Minister had told the detainees to stand in a semi-circle and ordered them to kneel down before him.   

The petitioners alleged the State Minister started to abuse them in Sinhala saying that the President had given him all the power about PTA Prisoners and that he could either release them or shoot them dead. The petitioners further said the State Minister had a pistol in his hand and appeared to be intoxicated.   

State Minister Lohan Ratwatte, Justice Minister Ali Sabry, Prison Superintendent of Anuradhapura M.H.R. Ajith, Commissioner General of Prisons Upuldeniya and Attorney General were named as the respondents in the petition.  

President’s Counsel, M.A. Sumanthiran, Counsel K. Sajanthan, T. Jayasingham and D. Mascranghe under the instructions of Attorney-at-law Mohan Balendran appeared for the petitioners.