ECONOMYNEXT – Lawyer Hijaz Hisbullah has been remanded until March 3 by the Colombo Magistrate today, taking him out of detention in the CID after ten months.
Yesterday the Attorney General ordered the Police Department to produce detained lawyer Hizbullah before a Magistrate’s Court on charges under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The announcement also said that the Inspector General of Police has been directed to produce a Principal of a Madrassa school Mohamed Shakeel before a Magistrate under the same charges.
Shakeel was also remanded until March 3.
Hisbullah was arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on April 14, 2020, and placed under a detention order by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) for allegedly “aiding and abetting” the Easter Sunday bombers and for engaging in activities deemed “detrimental to religious harmony among communities.”
The PTA permits the Sri Lankan government to detain a suspect without any charges for 18 months and Hisbullah’s detention order was renewed on October 14, 2020, and the listing of his case before a Magistrate on October 28, 2020, was postponed to February, reportedly due to the COVID-19 crisis.
In January his lawyers filed a writ petition before the Court of Appeal seeking release from detention and access to their client.
The lawyers submitted and the court noted that Hisbullah did not have confidential access to his lawyers since September.
In the Petition, Hisbullah’s lawyers stated that they were given access to their client only four times and that the authorities were present on all occasions.
During the Appeal Court hearing on December 15, the Attorney General agreed to grant Hisbullah confidential access to counsel.
The Bar Council of Sri Lanka and several international organisations have called for justice for Hisbullah. (Colombo, February 18, 2021)
Reported by Arjuna Ranawana