The Committee for Protecting Rights of Prisoners has called upon the Secretary of United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) to take up with Sri Lankan government matters relating to the detention of people under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) for periods exceeding reasonable limits of time.


In a letter, the Secretary of Committee for Protecting Rights of Prisoners Attorney-at-Law Senaka Perera has called upon UNWGAD to urge the Sri Lankan government to repeal the draconian PTA.


Senaka Perera stated that the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act, No. 48 of 1979 (PTA) has become permanent in Sri Lanka’s legal framework, despite provisions that bypass judicial supervision and discretion, international human rights standards and principles of natural justice. Successive governments have used the PTA as a repressive tool against ethnic minorities and to suppress dissent. Twelve years after the end of the war, the present government actively enforces the PTA.


He said the PTA had resulted in arbitrary arrest, prolonged administrative detention without judicial supervision, prolonged detention without charges, long-drawn-out trials. He further said there had been many cases of forced confessions where the detainee had not even known he was signing a confession as he /he could not understand the language used.

“Earlier this year, Kulathunga HettiarchchigeMalcom Tiron (prisoner no. 5329) was released due to lack of evidence, after about 13 years in detention (arrested in 2008) and a trial of approximately 9 years (indicted in 2012). There have been other reports of persons being released as not guilty after up to 15 years in detention. We note that the provision in the PTA that allows for bail with consent of the Attorney General is rarely being used, and this could at least reduce the terrible consequences prolonged detention has on those who turn out to be not guilty. We attach herewith a list of 11 PTA detainees whose details have been provided to us. All of them have been in detention for approximately 12-14 years, and trials are ongoing for approximately 7-9 years,” Pereraadded.




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