ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka opposition MP Manusha Nanayakkara being summoned to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) with no clear explanation was a violation of his parliamentary privileges and may be indicative of attempts to silence legislators, the MP said.
Speaking in parliament on Tuesday (21), Nanayakkara requested Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena to have the parliament’s Privileges Committee inquire into the matter and declare that the actions of the CID officers involved have violated his privileges as an MP.
The main opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) lawmaker was asked to arrive at the CID on Monday (20), a request he did not heed. His lawyer presented had instead forwarded a letter to the CID requesting clarification and a reason for the notification sent.
The MP told parliament that he received the notification through the Narahanpita police, which had asked that he meet the officer in charge of the CID’s Digital Forensics Laboratory regarding an inquiry being carried out by the Computer Forensics Division.
The notification did not indicate definitively what information was being sought from him based on what complaint made by whom, he said.
“This is a violation of my rights as a civilian, and a violation of my parliamentary privileges,” he said.
Such summons with no definite cause mentioned is an action taken going beyond the country’s common legal system, he added.
“We would like to bring to your attention that we have a reasonable suspicion as to whether this is an attempt to stop MPs from highlighting issues of the country in parliament and to hunt down MPs,” said Nanayakkara.
Fellow former SJB MP Ranjan Nanayakkara is currently serving a four-year prison sentence on charges of contempt of court. Opposition and SJB leader Sajith Premadasa has written to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa seeking a presidential pardon for the actor-turned-politician.
Nanayakkara added that it his belief that the unexplained summon was an attempt to prevent him from attending parliamentary sessions and participating in other parliamentary affairs.
Speaker Abeywardena agreed to direct the matter to the Privileges Committee. (Colombo/Sep21/2021)