The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has urged the President and the law enforcement authorities to refrain from using the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) against the persons who have been involved in protests against the Government.
In a statement, the BASL urges the authorities to immediately rescind the Detention Orders issued against the individuals involved in protests.
The BASL noted that the use of the PTA has been seen as a matter of concern in granting to Sri Lanka an extension of the GSP+ by the European Union. The BASL further stated that abuse of the PTA has also been raised time and again at
the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The BASL stated that stated that certain suspects are being presently detained in relation to incidents which occurred during the protests from 9
th April 2022.
The PTA is a draconian piece of legislation, which gives wide powers to the Executive to arrest and detain persons for a lengthy period of time. Although Detention Orders are amenable to the Fundamental Rights and Writ Jurisdictions of the apex courts, they are not subject to regular judicial supervision unlike instances of arrests and detention under the general law. Administrative detention confers the Executive with wide powersover the freedom of physical liberty of a person and lengthy detention periods without judicial supervision go against internationally accepted standards of protections of human rights. There is also the danger that suchdetention may result in the detainee being subject to torture and inhuman treatment, the BASL statement added.
Meanwhile, the BASL observed that the PTA is now being used despite assurances by the Government of Sri Lanka thatit was implementing a moratorium on the use of the PTA.
This statement had been issued under the signatures of BASL President Saliya Pieris PC and its Secretary Isuru Balapatabendi.