HRC writes to Acting IGP regarding guidelines on arresting suspects
The Human Rights Commission (HRC) of Sri Lanka has written to Acting Police Chief C D Wickramaratne urging that certain guidelines be followed when arresting suspects.
“The Commission has recently received a number of complaints alleging illegal arrests,” Deepika Udagama, HRC Chairperson, said referring to the investigations in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks She observed that these arrests had been carried out due to certain “cultural misunderstandings or uncertainty” and “suspicions expressed by members of the public”.
While pointing out that police investigations are notably being conducted are the arrest, Ms. Udugama said that arrests must be made “only on the basis of reasonable suspicion”.
Accordingly, the HRC had listed out for guidelines to be followed in this regard:
- Whenever an arrest is to be made there should be solid evidence to form a reasonable suspicion pursuant to proper investigations. Arrests should not be made merely on hearsay.
- Where cultural issues are involved, such as the identification of religious symbols or identifying contents written in an alien language, proper expert opinion should be obtained.
- Where identification of chemical substances or contents of computer files or video footage or the like are involved expert opinion should be obtained.
- It is vital that the arrests are made not before, but after receiving credible information based on expert analysis and opinion, and on reasonable suspicion.
The Sunday Times
4 July 2019