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Monday, May 27, 2024

The BASL calls upon the AG to act regarding Ratwatte’s alleged break-ins to prisons

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The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) today (16) called upon the Attorney General and the law enforcement authorities to act forthwith in dealing with serious acts of impunity committed by State Minister Lohan Ratwatte by allegedly breaking in to Anuradhapura and Welikada prisons recently.

In a statement, the BASL said that it is deeply disturbed at the reports of the alleged criminal conduct on the part of Ratwatte which seriously calls into question his eligibility to hold office in the government any longer.

Although Ratwatte has now tendered his resignation from the office of State Minister of Prison Management and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Affairs but not from the office of State Minister of Gem and Jewellery related Industries, the BASL noted.

“The allegations that Ratwatte forcibly entered the prisons at Welikada with other persons and that he flew to Anuradhapura and forcibly entered the prison there and intimidated prisoners at that prison are acts of gross impunity and a threat to the rule of law.

The allegations against him are such that Ratwatte can no longer command the trust or responsibility of not only a government minister charged with duties in respect of prisons, but also as a minister holding any other portfolio and as a Member of Parliament.”

The BASL further said that such acts of impunity are ones which should be investigated fully and impartially and if proved be visited with penal consequences.

“It is imperative that independent and impartial investigations into these alleged criminal acts are conducted expeditiously. The BASL has noted time and again that the State has a duty to protect prisoners in their custody.
By tendering his resignation Ratwatte has accepted responsibility for his conduct and therefore he has forfeited his moral right to hold any office in government, ministerial or otherwise.”

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