The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has written to Attorney General (AG) Y J Wijayatilake, conveying to him its grave concern about the rights of the detainees and remandees held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and the Emergency Regulations and called upon him to take necessary measures to ensure the protection of the rights of these detainees and remandees.
The Commission has called for the immediate release of those held in detention or remand for a long period of time without charges and against whom there is no credible evidence.
The Commission has further called upon the Attorney General to review the cases of those indicted and to withdraw those cases which are solely based on confessions made to police officers, cases where no credible evidence exist and cases which are relatively minor.
In respect of accused indicted under the PTA and Emergency Regulations against whom there is credible evidence but who have been in detention and or remand for long periods of time, the Commission has expressed its view that arrangements should be made to release such persons on bail immediately.
The Human Rights Commission has also communicated to the Attorney General its concerns about the rehabilitation process to which detainees and remandees will reportedly be subjected.
The Commission has shared these concerns with the Attorney General in the hope it will be able to engage in dialogue with, and extend its support to, the Attorney-General’s Department in order to seek an urgent resolution to this critical issue.
The Commission views prolonged administrative detention or remand of persons as a serious violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed to them under Articles 72 and 13 of the Constitution of Sri Lanka as well as under Sri Lanka’s human rights obligations under international law.