The Supreme Court yesterday ordered the Prison Authorities to allow  lawyers to access the remanded poet Ahnaf Jazeem at Colombo Remand Prison, with the right to maintain lawyer-client privilege and confidentiality.

Supreme Court three-judge-bench comprising Justice Murdu Fernando, Justice Yasantha Kodagoda and Justice Shiran Goonaratne made this order following a Fundamental Rights petition filed on behalf of 26-year-old poet Ahnaf Jazeem challenging his arrest and detention.

President’s Counsel K. Kang-Isvaran with Counsel Lakshmanan Jayakumar appearing for the petitioner submitted to the court that the Poet, Ahnaf Jazeem has never been produced before a Magistrate since May this year. They sought meaningful access to the detainee to obtain the client’s instructions regarding the application filed before the Supreme Court.

Additional Solicitor General Nerin Pulle informed Supreme Court that the suspect is currently under judicial custody and maintained that he was produced before a Magistrate following the expiration of the detention order. He further said the Attorney General has already filed limited objections against this fundamental Rights petition.

The petition was fixed for support on September 8.

The Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) had arrested Ahnaf Jazeem under the Prevention of Terrorism Act over an allegation that he had promoted extremism and violence among the children and aided and abetted Muslim extremism through his literary work.

The petition has also sought an interim order to release Ahnaf Jazeem from detention.

The Poet Ahnaf Jazeem was arrested on the 16th May 2021 at his home in Chilavathurai.

Ahnaf Jazeem has been a writer of poems and short stories since his school times, has presented his poems to poetry competitions and has been awarded.

The petitioner stated that the Poet, Ahnaf Jazeem did not, by way of his artistic writings, support or incite violence or promoted extremism, racism within sections of the Muslim community, but on the contrary, exactly opposed the same.


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