The Committee for Protecting the Rights of Prisoners (CPRP), which met the visiting United Nations Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture delegation, had apprised the latter on a multitude of issues presently afflicting the country’s criminal justice system.
The problems highlighted had concerned the law governing the implementation of the death penalty, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL), the detention of beggars, the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID), the Tamil prisoners under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the proposed Counter Terrorism Act, and the Police coming under the purview of the President.
Chairman of the CPRP, Attorney Senaka Perera told Ceylon Today that they had informed that there was no law that provided for a particular group of death row convicts to be prioritised when meting out capital punishment or any basis for such a course of action. Lawyer Lakshan Dias had informed the delegation that the said Commission was a toothless tiger, and had called for the HRCSL’s Act to be amended to strengthen its mechanisms and professionalism.
Perera alleged that while beggars who were detained at the Ridiyagama camp were not allowed outside its confines at all, lawyers were not allowed to visit their clients in the custody of the TID.
President Maithripala Sirisena previously reinstated Inspector of Police attached to the Police Narcotics Bureau, Neomal Rangajeewa, the latter who was arrested, remanded and enlarged on bail in connection with the killing of 27 prisoners at the Welikada Prison in November 2012, despite the lack of provisions for such an action under the Establishments Code, he further alleged, adding that through such actions the President had implicitly condoned torture and like actions.
The delegation comprised of Satyabhooshun Gupt Domah from Mauritius, Petros Michaelides from Cyprus and June Lopez from the Philippines, and headed by Victor Zaharia from the Republic of Moldova.
-By Ruwan Laknath Jayakody