13 protesters enlarged on bail

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Thirteen individuals who were arrested while protesting near the Parliamentary entry road were enlarged on surety bail of Rs 100,000 each by the Kaduwela Magistrate’s Court yesterday (4).

The suspects were arrested by the Thalangama Police and produced in Court in relation to offences contained under Section 199, 120, 139, 146 and 150 of the Penal Code

Over 200 Lawyers including SarathJayamanne, Anuja Premaratne and Kamal Wijesiri appeared for  the suspects, while Wijesiri informed Court that the Police did not have a valid ground for arrest, while noting that the B report submitted by the Police contained false information, following which the arrestees were granted bail.

A tense situation arose when 13 individuals were arrested while protesting near the Parliamentary entry road on the basis of inconveniencing public travelling and damaging vehicles.

Meanwhile, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), issuing a statement in regard to the arrest called on all concerned including the Government, the Inspector General of Police and all Police Officers and the Armed Forces to act with utmost restraint.

“It should be noted that those engaged in lawful exercise of their right to protest cannot be arrested. We reiterate once more that the right of the public to protest in a peaceful manner must be respected and upheld. We also stress that such protests must be peaceful at all times,” BASL said.

Meanwhile, the Kaduwela Magistrate’s Court also rejected the request made by the Thalangama Police and Additional Solicitor General of the Attorney General’s Department Janaka Bandara seeking an order preventing a protest allegedly due to be held by the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) near Parliament today (5) and tomorrow (6).

While the request was made sighting Section 106 (1) of the Penal Code and Section 21 of the Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act, the lawyers appearing on behalf of IUSF stated that the Penal Code provision has been misinterpreted, while the Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act does not supersede the provisions of the Constitution.

By Faadhila Thassim