Govt. to extend controversial detention law by 2 more years
The new Government is to extend for two years a controversial law which allows the Police to detain for upto 48 hours persons arrested without a warrant on charges of murder and other serious crimes. The Minister of Justice has issued a Gazette notification to extend for another two years the operation of the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Special Provisions) Act No. 2 of 2013, a law that was opposed by the UNP when it was introduced by the previous government.
The Act was certified by the Speaker on February 6, 2013 and its two year period of validity lapsed this week. The validity of the law can be extended with a Gazette notification, following which it will have to be approved by Parliament.
The law allows for persons arrested without a warrant to be detained up to 48 hours and also allows the Attorney General to forward indictments directly to the High Court in special cases where murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, rape, and offences committed with the use of explosives or an offensive weapon or gun. Such proceedings have to be concluded within ninety days under the terms of this Act.
Troop deployment: Govt. to continue the previous Govt.’s practice
A proclamation enabling the deployment of armed forces to maintain law and order will be issued every month, Public Order Minister John Amaratunga said yesterday.
He said such deployment would be done only when the necessity arose.
Mr. Amaratunga’s remarks came after questions were raised whether the new government would continue with the previous government’s practice of issuing gazette notification for the deployment of troops. Section 12 of the Public Security Ordinance says, “Where circumstances endangering the public security in any area have arisen or are imminent and the President is of the opinion that the police are inadequate to deal with such situation in that area, he may, by Order published in the Gazette, call out all or any of the members of the armed forces for the maintenance of public order in that area”.
On Thursday, Cabinet Spokesman Rajitha Senaratne, when questioned about the Gazette notification issued on February 2, said it was necessary because troops were to be deployed in view of the Independence Day celebrations. The Bar Association of Sri Lanka and civil society groups have demanded that the monthly gazette notificiation issued by the President be halted.
The Extraordinary Gazette notification says all armed forces personnel are called upon to maintain law and order in all 25 districts of the country