HRCSL recommends guidelines to avoid arbitrary and illegal arrests
The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has recommended a set of guidelines to the Police to avoid arbitrary and illegal arrests.
In a letter to the Police, the Chairperson of the HRCSL Dr. Deepika Udagama noted that while appreciating the efforts taken by the Police in the investigation process to identify persons involved in the April 21st attacks, there is a need to ensure that arrests are made only on the basis of reasonable suspicion.
Udagama said that the Commission has recently received a number of complaints alleging illegal arrests.
“Some pertain to arrests made due to cultural misunderstandings or uncertairtly and others due to suspicions expressed by members of the public. For example, one woman had been arrested due to a motif on her dress assumed to be inciteful; in some other instances persons have been arrested for possessing literature in Arabic even before ascertaining the contents; arrests have been made due to public pressure such as an arrest of a trader because some persons feared he had applied a toxic substance to certain garments he was selling. It most instances, the Commission observes that police investigations are conducted after the arrest,” Udagama said.
The HRCSL has recommended that whenever an arrest is to be made there should be solid evidence to form a reasonable suspicion pursuant to proper investigations.
HRCSL says arrests should not be made merely on hearsay and 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.
July 3, 2019 – 17:41