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FR to be filed on behalf of remanded writer

Motion also to be filed in Polgahawela magistrate court seeking to amend chages; sources say OIC received orders "from the top"

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A fundamental rights petition is to be filed against the arrest of writer Shakthika Sathkumara who was remanded by the Polgahawela magistrate on 1 April subsequent to his arrest invoking Section 3 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Purawesi Balaya co-convenor Gamini Viyangoda told RepublicNext that activist and senior lawyer J. C. Weliamuna also made representations to the Attorney General this morning, arguing that Sathkumara should not have been remanded under provisions in the ICCPR Act.

“If the Attorney General accepts this position, he can then direct the state counsel in Kurunegala to take up the case. There is also a motion to be filed in the Polgahawela magistrate court pointing out that the allegations against the defendant are baseless,” said Viyangoda.

The ICCPR Act could not be invoked for such baseless allegations, he reiterated.

The ongoing case against Sathkumara is to be taken up again on 9 April. However, he will not be able to take it to the High Court – the only court authorised to grant bail in cases involving the ICCPR Act – as the Court would be on annual vacation, starting that day.

“He will have to remain behind bars until the High Court reconvenes,” said Viyangoda, adding that the motion will appeal to the magistrate to throw the case out or rule that it cannot come under the ICCPR Act.

Meanwhile, informed sources told RepublicNext that the OIC had allegedly acted on “orders from the top”, specifically from a senior DIG. Prior to the arrest, the sources said, he had not consulted the DIG under whose supervision his police station comes. Nor had he sought the opinion of the DIG overseeing legal affairs.