Two human rights activists go before SC against police-military arbitrary action


Former Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka Ambika Satkunanathan and former Commissioner of the Office on Missing Persons Mirak Raheem have filed a Fundamental Rights petition in the Supreme Court challenging the arbitrary and irrational action of the Police and the military.

The petitioners are challenging the legality of administrative and executive practice of arresting individuals and temporarily keeping them in secret detention, contrary to the Constitution, the rule of law, and accepted international human rights norms.

Inspector General of Police, Minister of Justice, Minister of Public Security, Army Commander, Airforce Commander, Navy Commander, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, the Office on Missing Persons, and the the Attorney General were named as the respondents of the petition.

The petitioners stated that the recent spate of arbitrary arrests carried out by individuals, in no identifiable uniform, with protestors being taken away in vehicles that are not identified as belonging to the police and where protestors are being detained sometimes for several hours, in undisclosed locations, prior to being produced before a Magistrate. 

During this period, they are not allowed to inform their next of kin about their place of detention and no arrest receipt is issued to the next of kin. In other instances, unidentified individuals in no identifiable uniforms have conducted searches for particular individuals, the petitioners said.

The petitioners state that all individuals including protestors who were arrested, must be arrested for a clearly identifiable penal offence, by officers of the Sri Lanka Police, in clearly identifiable uniforms and such arrestees’ families must immediately be notified of such arrest. 

The petitioners are seeking an interim order preventing the respondents from carrying out any arrest and detention, contrary to the Constitution and the Law, including the International Convention For The Protection Of All Persons From Enforced Disappearance Act. 

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