Ambika Satkunanathan, former commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has filed a Fundamental Rights petition before the Supreme Court yesterday (09), challenging the new deradicalisation regulations under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).
Satkunanathan said that her petition states that the regulations contain vague terms that lend themselves to over-broad applications, amount to a continuing and imminent violation of Articles, 10, 12, 13 and 14 of the Constitution.
Further, the petition states that the regulations allow arrest and detention contrary to the procedure set by the law, permit investigations to commence after the arrest which deprives a person of being informed of the reason for the arrest and allows a person to be subjected to rehabilitation without being entitled to a fair trial as they seem to deem a person guilty, thus requiring rehabilitation.
Satkunanathan also states that the regulations can prevent an arrestee from accessing legal representation, scrutinising the evidence against them and preparing a proper defence. Under these deradicalisation regulations, the extension of detention of 12 months to a further 12 months without judicial scrutiny is also allowed.
Therefore, Satkunanathan states that all these factors can make a person vulnerable to rights violations. She goes on to mention that the regulations have no oversight or regulatory mechanism and purport to extend the limit of powers set out in the PTA, thus resulting in negative stereotyping and profiling based on ethno-religious factors.