By Chitra Weerarathne
The Supreme Court on Monday (11) granted leave to proceed with the fundamental rights violation petition filed by Assad Sally.
Arguments were fixed for December 15.
Leave was granted on the alleged unequal treatment, alleged illegal arrest and illegal detention at the inception.
Deputy Solicitor General Dileepa Pieris, yesterday, told the Supreme Court that Assad Sally had been indicted in respect of comments he had made at a Press Conference on March 9, 2021. Sally had said that he respected only the Muslim law and not laws of the state of Sri Lanka. The indictment is dated July 26, 2021. Sally is indicted under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
Sally was arrested on March 18, 2021.
President’s Counsel Faiz Mustapha, who appeared for Sally said that the contents of what Sally said had been taken out of context and edited.
Mustapha PC, was supporting the Fundamental Rights Violation petition filed by Assad Sally. The statements taken out of context were telecast. Persons who were in the audience at the Press Conference, had not complained.
The fundamental rights violation petition said that the arrest was unlawful, and Sally should be released.
Assad Sally is a former Governor of the Western Province. He is the leader of the Muslim Makkal Congress.
Counsel Mustapha said that Sally had exercised his right to freedom of speech at this Press Conference, held in Colombo. Sally had been arrested by the CID.
Faiz Mustapha added that there was no authorisation in the ‘B report’ to arrest Sally. B-report only refers to advice given by the Attorney General.
Mustapha, PC said that investigation reports said that Sally was not involved in the Easter Sunday attack as suspected. He was not involved in the destruction of the Mawanella Buddha statue, as alleged earlier. Police had reported the same to the Magistrate, he added.
The arrest was prima facie illegal Mustapha PC argued.
The bench comprised Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justice S. Thurairajah and Justice Yassantha Kodagoda.