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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Sri Lanka: Arrest and detention of journalist Keerthi Rathnayake: Fundamental Rights petition filed at SC

Today a  lawyers representing the interests of detained Lanka e News defence correspondent Keerthi Rathnayake filed a Fundamental Rights application at the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka.

In the petition under the section of violation of  His Fundamental Rights it states that:

35. In the foregoing circumstances the Petitioner states that the totality of the facts and circumstances as hereinbefore more fully enumerated, clearly demonstrates that the Petitioner has been treated in a manner violative of the Petitioner’s Fundamental Rights as guaranteed to him under and in terms of the following Articles of the Constitution:

a) That the Petitioner has never committed any offence under the PTA or any other law in the country, and that the 1st to 16th Respondents have still failed to inform him the suspected crime he has committed, which warranted his arrest and further the Respondents deviation of the questioning pattern from the said WhatsApp message to articles he has written clearly demonstrates that the arrest is tainted with malice and extraneous hence, is unlawful and is a violation of the Petitioners Fundamental Right of equality before the law and the equal protection of the law which has been guaranteed under Article 12(1) of the Constitution;

b) That the Petitioner was asked to report to the Kollupitiya Police Station to obtain details of the information given by him to the High Commission of India and at the time of his arrest none of the Police Officers attached to the Kollupitiya Police Station nor the officers of the CCD, SIS or CID informed the Petitioner the reasons of his arrest and thus did not follow the procedure established by law which has been guaranteed under Article 13(1) of the Constitution;

c) That up to date the Petitioner has not been produced before a competent Court of Law nor any detention order was showed; and that there is no credible material produced or otherwise which illustrates that there was any act committed in violation of the PTA, which merits a detention order being issued and/or for the Petitioner to being detained under PTA ; thus the purported detention order under the PTA is being sought for collateral purposes and/or is tainted with mala fide which has been guaranteed under Article 13(2) of the Constitution;

d) That after the arrest he was extensively questioned about his articles and sources of information in an intimidating manner threatening him to divulge and expose the sources of information of articles tantamount to a violation of the Petitioners Right to freedom of speech and expression including publication which has been guaranteed under Article 14(1)(a) of the Constitution;

e) That there is a fear of continuing his occupation as a journalist has occurred due to the intimidation caused to him by the officers of the CCD and CID and hence the Petitioner is in fear to continue his occupation which is an imminent violation of the Petitioners Right to engage in any lawful occupation, profession, trade or enterprise which has been guaranteed under Article 14(1)(g) of the Constitution;

Thus, the acts and/or omissions of one or more or all of the above 1st to 16th Respondents constitutes a violation and/or an imminent infringement of the Petitioners Fundamental Rights as Guaranteed by the Constitution.

36. The Petitioner seeks 100 million Rupees as compensation.

37. The Petitioner states that as he is incarcerated and due to the prevailing Pandemic COVID-19 situation of the Country, he has been able to consult his Attorneys-at-Law only on two occasions and for a very limited period of time and only limited instructions to his Attorneys-at-Law have been given and thus the Petitioner respectfully seeks the indulgence of Your Lordships’ Court to reserve his right to amend the Petition and tender further material becoming available regarding the actions complained of in the proceeding paragraphs.

38. The Petitioner states that the Petitioner has not previously invoked the jurisdiction of Your Lordships’ Court in respect of this matter.


a. Grant the Petitioner leave to proceed with this application in the first instance;

b. Declare that the Respondents have violated and/or imminent danger of violating the Petitioner’s Fundamental Rights guaranteed to him under and in terms of Articles 12(1) and/or 13(1) and/or 13(2) and/or 14(1)(a) and/or 14(1)(g) of the Constitution have been infringed;

c. Quash the Detention Order(s) if any issued and/or declare that such Detention Order(s) cannot be issued under and in terms of Section 9(1) of the Prevention (temporary provisions) Act No. 48 of 1979;

d. Direct any one or more or all of the Respondents except the 17th and 18th Respondent to produce the complaint (if any) and the statement(s) of the Petitioner to Your Lordships’ Court;

e. Direct any one or more or all of the Respondents except the 17th and 18th Respondents to release the Petitioner from incarceration;

f. Direct any one or more or all of the Respondents except the 17th and 18th Respondents to release any personal belongings in their custody to the Petitioner;

g. Grant Rupees 100 million as compensation;

h. Grant Costs;

i. Grant the Petitioner such other and further relief as Your Lordships’ Court may seem meet.

Read the petition as a PDF: Petition- Keerthi Ratnayake (1)




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