News

Advisory Board on Prevention of Terrorism suspects to meet tomorrow

  • Recommendation report likely to get delayed
  • Suspects to receive opportunity to raise grievances with Board

By Yoshitha Perera

The report on the future of suspects held under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act (PTA) by the three-member Advisory Board appointed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa may get delayed, The Sunday Morning learnt.

The Board, appointed by the President to make recommendations on future action to be taken regarding individuals held under the PTA, is expected to meet officially for the first time tomorrow (6).

Presidential Secretariat Director General – Legal Affairs and senior Attorney-at-Law Harigupta Rohanadeera told The Sunday Morning that suspects held under the PTA will be given the opportunity to raise their issues with the Advisory Board.

“The Advisory Board plans to submit its report in three weeks. However, due to the prevailing lockdown situation, there can be a slight delay. Yet, they will submit it to the President as soon as possible,” Rohanadeera said.

According to a statement released by the President’s Media Division (PMD), people who have been imprisoned under the PTA have had no opportunity to make representations on their rights, since an advisory board had not been established for a long time.

The PTA, enacted as a temporary measure in 1979 and made permanent in 1982, has been widely criticised by local and international legal experts and human rights advocacy groups.

Appeals to repeal the PTA have gone largely unanswered. Twelve years after the conflict in Sri Lanka ended, some suspects held under the PTA remain in detention without charge.

The three-member Advisory Board was appointed on 25 August to make recommendations pertaining to investigations, releasing or granting of bail, and future action on people imprisoned and held under detention orders over terrorist activities.

Rohanadeera said the appointments were made in accordance with Section 13 of the PTA No. 48 of 1979 and that the Advisory Board would be chaired by former Chief Justice Asoka de Silva.

“The panel will consist of retired High Court Judge A.A.R. Heiyanthuduwa and former Solicitor General Suhada Gamlath as the other two members,” Rohandeera added.