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  • Technical committee gives clearance; ban on COVID-19 burial revoked
    The government decided today to allow the burial of Muslim COVID-19 victims after the technical committee appointed in this regard gave clearance, a Minister said today. The decision follows the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) expressing concerns over the cremation of dead bodies of Muslims at a high level meeting. OIC Secretary General Yousef Al Othaimeen said the OIC is “concerned on the situation of Muslims in Sri Lanka." Sri Lanka counts on the support of these countries to defeat a resolution to be moved by the core group of countries led by the United Kingdom. Earlier, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa announced in Parliament that burials would be allowed. Later, State Minister Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle said it would be referred to the technical committee of experts to take the final decision. (Kelum Bandara)   http://www.dailymirror.lk/top_story/Technical-committee-gives-clearance-ban-on-COVID-19-burial-revoked/155-206622
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  • කොරෝනා මළ සිරුරු භූමදානයට අවසර
    කොරෝනා වයිරසය ආසාදනය වීමෙන් සිදුවන මරණවලදී මළ සිරුරු භූමදානය කිරීමට රජය අවසර දී තිබේ. ඒ සඳහා වන ගැසට් පත්‍රය අද (25) රාත්‍රියේ මුද්‍රණයට යැවුණ අතර සෞඛ්‍ය ඇමතිනී පවිත්‍රා වන්නිආරච්චි මහත්මිය ඊට අත්සන් තබා තිබේ.


    http://www.lankadeepa.lk/latest_news/%E0%B6%9A%E0%B7%9C%E0%B6%BB%E0%B7%9D%E0%B6%B1%E0%B7%8F-%E0%B6%B8%E0%B7%85-%E0%B7%83%E0%B7%92%E0%B6%BB%E0%B7%94%E0%B6%BB%E0%B7%94-%E0%B6%B7%E0%B7%96%E0%B6%B8%E0%B6%AF%E0%B7%8F%E0%B6%B1%E0%B6%BA%E0%B6%A7-%E0%B6%85%E0%B7%80%E0%B7%83%E0%B6%BB/1-586600
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  • Justice has failed Sri Lanka civil war victims: UNHCR
    Efforts to ensure justice for victims have failed, Michelle Bachelet says while introducing her report on Sri Lanka to the UN Human Rights Council.
    Twelve years after the end of armed conflict in Sri Lanka, domestic efforts to ensure justice for victims have failed, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said on Wednesday.

    Introducing her report on Sri Lanka to the UN Human Rights Council, Bachelet said the effect of the conflict on thousands of survivors from all communities was devastating.
    “Despite commitments made in 2015, the current government, like its predecessor, has failed to pursue genuine truth-seeking or accountability processes,” she said.

    “The impact on thousands of survivors, from all communities, is devastating. Moreover, the systems, structures, policies...
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  • හිජාස් පෙත්සම ඉල්ලා අස්කරගනී
    (තිළිණි ද සිල්වා සහ රංජන් කටුගම්පොළ)

    රැඳවුම් නියෝග මත රදවා සිටින තමාව වහාම මුදාහරින්නැයි පොලිස්පතිවරයාට සහ අපරාධ පරීක්ෂණ දෙපාර්තමේන්තුවට නියෝග කරන ලෙස  ඉල්ලා නීතීඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මහතා අභියාචනාධිකරණය ගොනු කළ රිට් පෙත්සම අද (24) ඒ මහතා විසින්ම ඉල්ලා අස් කරගන්නා ලදි.

    පාස්කු ඉරුදින කොළඹ සිනමන් ග්‍රෑන්ඩ් හෝටලයේ සිදුවූ...
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  • Disappointed to see Govt. backing away from ending cremation policy: US
    US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina B Teplitz said she was disappointed to see that the Government and Prime Minister are backing away from ending discriminatory cremation policy. She tweeted that “People, including loved ones recently passed away, deserve more respect for their rights from a democratic government”.   http://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/Disappointed-to-see-Govt-backing-away-from-ending-cremation-policy-US/108-206094



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  • Hizbullah and Madrasa School Principal remanded
    Attorney-at-Law Hejaaz Hizbullah and Principal of Madrasa School Mohammed Shakeel were remanded till March 3 by the Fort Magistrate’s Court today. The Attorney General yesterday directed the IGP to produce them in a relevant court under section 2 (1) (h) of the PTA and section 3(1) of the ICCPR Act.   http://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/Hizbullah-and-Madrasa-School-Principal-remanded/108-206092 Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.
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  • හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා කොටුව අධිකරණයට

    (රොමේෂ් ධනුෂ්ක ද සිල්වා) පාස්කු ප්‍රහාරය සම්බන්ධයෙන් රහස් පොලිසිය මගින්  අත්අඩංගුවට ගෙන මාස 10කට අධික කාලයක් රැඳවුම් නියෝග මත සිටි නීතිඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මහතා අද(18) පස්වරුවේ කොළඹ කොටුව මහේස්ත්‍රාත් අධිකරණයට ඉදිරිපත් කරනු ලැබීය. හිස්බුල්ලා මහතා සමඟ අත්අඩංගුවට ගත් පුත්තලම, මද්‍රසා පාසලේ විදුහල්පති මොහොමඩ්...
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  • හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලාගේ පෙත්සම 24 දා සළකා බලයි
    (තිළිණි ද සිල්වා සහ රංජන් කටුගම්පොළ)

    නීතීඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මහතා ගොනු කළ රිට් පෙත්සම මෙම මස 24 වැනිදා සළකා බැලීමට අභියාචනාධිකරණය අද (16) තීරණය කළේය.

    පාස්කු ඉරුදින කොළඹ සිනමන් ග්‍රෑන්ඩ් හෝටලයේ සිදුවූ මරාගෙන මැරෙන බෝම්බ ප්‍රහාරය සිදුකළ බෝම්බකරු සමඟ සම්බන්ධතා පැවැත්වුයැයි කියන සිද්ධියකට සැකපිට...
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  • UK Muslims complain to UN over Sri Lanka’s cremation policy
    Muslim Council of Britain leads calls for an end to the ‘unjust and discriminatory’ mandatory cremation policy.
    9 Feb 2021
    Muslim families in the United Kingdom whose loved ones have been cremated in Sri Lanka have submitted a complaint to the United Nations, branding the South Asian country’s controversial policy “unjust and discriminatory” and calling for its immediate suspension.

    Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka made cremation mandatory last March for people who die, or are suspected to have died, with coronavirus.

    KEEP READING
    Sri Lanka vaccinates health workers, troops after India donation
    UN rights chief seeks sanctions against Sri Lankan generals: AFP
    Sri Lanka’s cremation of COVID dead a ‘human rights violation’
    Thousands in Sri Lanka drink ‘miracle’ COVID potion, minister...
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  • කොවිඩ් සිරුරු භූමදානයට ඉඩදෙන බව අගමැති කියයි
    බන්දුල ඉලේපෙරුම

    කොවිඩ් 19 ආසාදනය වීමෙන් මියයන පුද්ගලයන්ගේ සිරුරු භූමදානයට ඉඩදෙන බව අගමැති මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මහතා අද(10) පාර්ලිමේන්තුවේදී පැවසීය.
    අගමැතිවරයා සභාවේ නැගී සිටිමින් එසේ කියා සිටියේ එස්.එම්.මරික්කාර් මන්ත්‍රීවරයා නැගූ පැනයකට පිළිතුරු වශයෙනි.
    ජලයෙන් කොවිඩ් 19 ‍බෝ නොවන බවට සුදර්ශනී ප්‍රනාන්දුපුල්ලේ ඇමැතිවරිය...
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Analysing Sumanthiran: A Reality Check On Hejaaz, Muslim Politicians & Lawyers

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By Mass L. Usuf

Mass Usuf

On 09/12/2020, at the Committee Stage Debate in the Parliament on the Appropriation (2021) Bill, Honourable Member of Parliament Mr. M.A. Sumanthiran made some terse remarks given the limited time allotted to him.

He justified the need for an international inquiry and international judicial process to look into serious crimes committed in this country which has an impact on international law. In order to drive home his point, he alluded to several instances and, euphemistically made reference to the “depths to which your judicial system has sunk”. As a recent example he cited Mr. Hejaaz Hizbullah, an Attorney at Law who is currently in detention. Mr. M.A. Sumanthiran said, “a brilliant young lawyer denied justice for eight months. All kinds of false allegations were made against him.” Further, he drew attention to the fact that if there were any grounds for prosecution, they should have filed charges against him. The Opposition Member of Parliament questioned the Minister of Justice Mr. Ali Sabry “what were you doing for eight months?”

 

Voicing concern over the sacrosanct Attorney/Client communication, he pointed out that two of the client briefs of Attorney Mr. Hejaaz Hisbullah were taken away. He also deplored the fact that Hejaaz had not been given proper access to his lawyer. Mr. Sumanthiran then emphatically asked the million-dollar question, “if you treat a lawyer like that how do we expect you to treat anybody else?”

Silencing The Voice

Like Mr. Sumanthiran not many Muslim politicians dare to express themselves in Parliament. One may question, why not? The answer is in the lack of cohesiveness between the Muslim politicians, at least on matters of common interest. It is very rare. Some are gagged by the influence of external factors, political slavery. Ironically, among them are also those probably not really aware why the hell they are sitting in Parliament – day dreaming!

 

As for the handful of the handful who wish to speak, the moment they do say something relating to the detention of Hejaaz and the many others or on any matter relating to the Easter Sunday attack, they would be accused of aiding and abetting extremism. Many government members in Parliament, deliberately do not allow the person to speak by drowning his voice with louder noise of interruptions and unruly behaviour.

Hot on the heels of such accusations are the notorious spin doctors, the media. They would build up a misleading or deceptive story incriminating the politician to create a negative impact of that person. Other vested interests, in this grand agenda, would pick it up from there and give their own interpretation, modify and reframe the allegations exacerbating the negative public opinion created. By this method the voice of the few who have the nerve to speak are often silenced or overwhelmed by disturbance. Freedom of expression, leave alone outside the Parliament, even under the Parliamentary Privileges has been stultified in our august assembly by vested interests.

Psychological Torture

 

Mr. Hejaaz Hizbullah is not alone. Like him there are so many others under detention orders unable to make sense of what is in store for them. Neither charged nor released, they are in a continuous state of suspense. Just like a live bird in a skewer over fire. It does not want to die burning but, yet, it does not have the freedom to fly away. This state of affairs naturally causes much anxiety and depression not only to those who are detained in this manner but also to the near and dear ones. This is plain and simple mental torture violating the fundamental right against torture enshrined in the constitution besides the international ratifications.

(1) The Charter of the United Nations in relation to obligation of States under the Charter states in Article 55 (c):

“universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.”

(2) The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 banning torture mentions in Article 5:

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

(3) The ban is further enshrined in Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

(4) The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment adopted in 1984 defines torture, in Article 1.1:

“For the purposes of this Convention, the term “torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person …”

Article 2.2

“No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

The infamous PTA

The infamous and dreaded Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act, No. 48 of 1979 as amended provides the legality for such incarceration. The PTA was a law enacted to prevent terrorism but it is alleged that many people with no connection to terrorism have been arrested and detained under its provisions.

Imagine the sorry predicament of an Attorney who is supposed to work for the advancement of civil liberties, fearing for his own civil liberty. Is it something to laugh at or a signification of a continuously corroding system? The constant reminder of what happened to Hejaaz hangs like the Sword of Damocles over the head of Muslim lawyers. They were in other words indirectly pressurized into silence except for some selected Attorneys. Who would want to face the situation that Hejaaz Hizbullah is in? This form of pressure is not sustainable because with the passage of time, people do bounce back when the level of tolerance is exceeded.

Fear Psychosis At Work – Lawyers

With the arrest of Hejaaz, the Muslims lawyers felt an unprecedented sense of insecurity in their professional and personal life. Such was the threat of the PTA and its tool of unpredictable detention. Members of the legal profession are supposed to be in a privileged status because they are part of ‘the administration of justice and essential for the maintenance of law and order and the preservation and advancement of civil liberties and the maintenance in general of the rule of law’. (Professional Ethics, A.R.B. Amerasinghe, Page 43)

We also witnessed the most unfortunate split among lawyers on the matter of Hejaaz. Can it be considered fair if the public questions the depth to which the legal profession has sunk. (See: Gota’s ‘Sinhala-only’ lawyers mount offensive to keep Attorney Hejaaz Hizbullah in illegal detention, Colombo Telegraph: 02/05/2020).

Such unprofessionalism was openly noticed among some of the doctors too, who failed to speak out on Dr. Shafi’s issue, the so called ‘wanda pethi’ and so many other stupidest allegations made.

It is a shame to see professionalism being a pawn to racism and racist agendas. Professional ethics and conduct demand a level higher than the conduct of an average person. “The legal profession has a responsibility to ensure that its guiding principles are conceived in the public interest and not in furtherance of parochial or self-interest concerns of the Bar and its members.” (ibid, Page 43).

Unaware of the pressure, limitations and fear that had mentally terrorised most of the Muslim lawyers, the Muslim community was often accusing the Muslims lawyers for maintaining silence at times they were supposed to speak out.

In the words of Crampton J. in Rex v. O’Connell:

“This court in which we sit is a temple of justice; and the advocate at the bar, as well as the judges upon the benches, are equally ministers in that temple. The object of all equally should be the attainment of justice; now justice is to be reached through the ascertainment of the truth…”

It is time that the legal fraternity get their act together and function in furtherance of justice, equity and fairness. Let the lawyers stand up as true and good professionals and be an example to other professions as well. The Bar Association of Sri Lanka as the premier institution of the legal profession may have a major role to play in this area o

 

https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/analysing-sumanthiran-a-reality-check-on-hejaaz-muslim-politicians-lawyers/?fbclid=IwAR2t-wtdscB6fUxBX74FHIfmtnbQqMDuSkjqBUOKSvChvzYYTl2QbWdJGs8

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