The Supreme Court today issued an interim order directing the Inspector General of Police to take action against the alleged criminal conduct of State Minister Lohan Ratwatte at the Anuradhapura prison.

The Supreme Court ordered the Inspector General to initiate this investigation with Attorney General’s supervision. The progress of the matter is to be informed to the Supreme Court as well.

The Supreme Court also directed the authorities to immediately transfer the eight prisoners from Anuradhapura prison as a measure of ensuring their security.

Eight prisoners detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) at the Anuradhapura prison had filed this Fundamental Rights petition through their lawyers.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court also granted leave to proceed with this Fundamental Rights petition.

Accordingly, Supreme Court three-judge-bench comprising Justice Gamini Amarasekara, Justice Yasantha Kodagoda, and Justice Janak de Silva fixed the petition to be taken up for argument on the 15th of February next year.

The Supreme Court decided to grant leave to proceed with the matter in terms of Articles11, 12(1) and 12(2).

The petitioners seek an order concerning the alleged serious offences committed by State Minister Ratwatte at the Anuradhapura Prison on I2th of September 2021.

The petitioners also sought interim order transferring them to a prison in the Northern Province where their cases are filed.

The petitioners stated that on the 12th of September, around 6.05 pm, the ten detainees were asked to come out into the Prison complex’s courtyard. They said State Minister and another person who appeared to be his Secretary, and others who resembled his security detail.

They said State Minister told the detainees to stand in a semi-circle and ordered them to kneel before him.

The petitioners alleged the State Minister started to abuse them in Sinhala saying, that the President had given him all the power relating to the prisoner detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The petitioners further said the State Minister had a pistol in his hand and appeared to be intoxicated.

“The State Minister then demanded to know what crime each of the detainees had committed. He kept shouting abuse at the detainees for a while and then ordered eight Petitioners to go in. The detainees were all in great shock and fear. Later, the prison officials told them that the Minister has gone out of the Prison and for them not to be fearful,” the petitioners stated.

The petitioners are seeking a declaration that their fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 11, 12(1) and 12(2) have been infringed by the respondents.

They are also seeking an interim order to enlarge them on bail.

State Minister Lohan Ratwatte, Justice Minister Ali Sabry, Prison Superintendent of Anuradhapura M.H.R. Ajith, Commissioner General of Prisons Upuldeniya and Attorney General are the respondents to the petition.


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