Financial Times

AG’s Office not using Hostage Act in labour dispute
By Dilshani Samaraweera

The Attorney General’s Office says it is going ahead with the indictment of 37 trade union activists at G. P. Garments but is not using the Prevention of Hostage Taking Act to do so.

The Free Trade Zone and General Services Employees Union is protesting against the indictment of its members under the Prevention of Hostage Taking Act. The union said the indictments are related to a labour dispute with the management of G. P. Garments, Biyagama. The union says the indictments are a violation of trade union rights and denies that the management of the company was held hostage.

However, G. P. Garments, when contacted last week, said that the workers encircled the factory and prevented the management from leaving the premises and prevented others from coming to their rescue. The company had recommended to the AG’s Office that the culprits should be charged by the Hostage Act
The AG’s office says it is going ahead with the case despite protests from the trade union but using the normal law and not the Hostage Act.

“The indictments are under the Penal Code, on illegal detention. Not under the Hostage Act,” said Additional Solicitor General, Palitha Fernando. “We have already filed an indictment in the High Court. So now it is up to the court to decide. The case will go ahead unless both parties concerned come to an agreement otherwise,” said Mr Fernando.

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