Sri Lanka: Human rights body frowns over denial of lawyers to suspects

The proposed amendment, if passed, will allow lawyers to suspects only after recording their statement.

By: PTI | Colombo | Published:September 23, 2016 2:09 pm

Sri Lankan human rights body has taken strong exception to a proposed amendment to the country’s criminal law which seeks to deny arrested suspects access to lawyers prior to recording their statements.

The new bill derogates from the rights already guaranteed by the state under rules made by the Inspector General of Police under the Police Ordinance, the Human Rights Commission said in a letter to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The new bill, gazetted last month, is aimed at introducing a new sub-section to section 37A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).

The proposed amendment, if passed, will allow lawyers to suspects only after recording their statement. The passage of the new bill will hinder the efforts of the government which has expressed its determination to stop torture in Sri Lanka, it said.

The Commission calls for withdrawal of the amendment and to continue to recognise and enhance the rights of suspects to have access to their lawyers.