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Prisons officials ordered to ensure security for eight A’pura detainees

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These inmates had filed a fundamental rights petition alleging that former Prison Reforms State Minister Lohan Ratwatte had threatened them with a pistol inside the Anuradhapura Prison.

The Attorney General was also directed to take steps to allow their Attorneys to meet the detainees.

The order was made after considering a fundamental rights petition filed by eight inmates at the Prison seeking a ruling that their fundamental rights had been violated due to the death threats made by State Minister Lohan Ratwatte after he entered the Anuradhapura Prison on September 12, and ordering them to kneel and pointing a pistol on their head. The petitions were yesterday taken up before a Three-Judge Bench comprising Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justices Murdu Fernando and S.Thurairajah.

President’s Counsel M.A. Sumanthiran, appearing for the petitioners, told Court that it was a tragedy that a group of prisoners under him were being harassed in this manner by the State Minister in charge of Prisons. Sumanthiran said there had been three mass killings of prisoners in prisons in the history of the country and that his clients are in fear that they would suffer the same fate.

Therefore, counsel Sumanthiran sought from court to issue an interim order transferring the detainees to any prison in Jaffna or the North and East for their safety. The Justice Minister expressed regret over the incident in Parliament and PC Sumanthiran also submitted a Hansard report to the court mentioning it. Deputy Solicitor General Rajiv Goonetilleke, who appeared for the Attorney General, said he would only represent the Attorney General and he had not received any advice from the other respondents in the petitions. Accordingly, the Supreme Court directed to send notice to all the respondents in the petition and fixed to consider the petition on October 21.

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