Eight prisoners detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) at the Anuradhapura prison today filed a Fundamental Rights petition in Supreme Court against the alleged criminal conduct on the part of the State Minister Lohan Ratwatte.
The petitioners are seeking an order in respect of the alleged serious offences committed by State Minister Ratwatte at the Anuradhapura Prison on I2th of September 2021.
The petitioners are also seeking an interim order transferring them to a prison in the Northern Province where their cases are lodged.
The petitioners stated that on 12th of September around 6.05 pm, the ten detainees were asked to come out into the Prison complex’s courtyard. They said State Minister and another person who appeared to be his Secretary, some others who looked like his security detail and some Prison guards were there.
They said State Minister told the detainees to stand in a semi-circle and ordered them to kneel before him.
The petitioners alleged the State Minister started to abuse them in Sinhala saying that the President had given him all the power in relation to PTA Prisoners and that he could either release them or shoot them dead. The petitioners further said the State Minister had a pistol in his hand and appeared to be intoxicated.
“The State Minister then demanded to know what crime each of the detainees had committed. He kept shouting abuse at the detainees for a while and then ordered eight Petitioners to go in. The detainees were all in great shock and fear. Later, the Prison officials told them that the Minister has gone out of the Prison and for them not to be fearful,” the petitioners stated.
The petitioners are seeking a declaration that their fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles12(1) and 12(2) have been infringed by the respondents. They also seeking an interim orders to enlarge them on bail.
State Minister Lohan Ratwatte, Justice Minister Ali Sabry, Prison Superintendent of Anuradhapura M.H.R. Ajith, Commissioner General of Prisons Upuldeniya and Attorney General were named as the respondents in the petition.
The petition had been filed through Attorney-at-law Mohan Balendran.