Raid on website, arrest of employees sans legal basis: Mangala


Although the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) arrested the employees of the Lankaxnews news website claiming that they had published articles defaming the President no such article had been submitted to the Magistrate to prove their claims, stated UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera in his rights plea to the Supreme Court.

Mr. Samaraweera filed the rights application n the Supreme Court against the arrest on June 29 of the two employees of the official website of the UNP, along with seven employees of the SriLanka mirror website, whose office is also located on the ground floor of the same building..
The petitioner further stated that the CID had not produced evidence to prove that articles published in the website caused public unrest as charged. Thus, he argued that the arrest of the employees of his website was illegal and in violation of his rights.

The UNP Parliamentarian stated that the CID arrested the employees solely relying on Section 118 of the Penal Code dealing with publishing of articles defaming the President, a piece of legislation repealed ten years before – in 2002.
Mr. Samaraweera noted that the Supreme Court did not make orders requiring websites in Sri Lanka to register as claimed by the CID. He alleged thereby the CID had misrepresented facts to Court and misled the magistrate into believing that the Supreme Court had ordered the registration of websites.

Mr. Samaraweera also alleged that the seizure of equipment including computers and the arrest of employees was done with the intention of disrupting the activities of the opposition website, which highlighted corruption and carried articles constructively criticizing the Government.
He also pointed out there is no complaint made by the public against the website except for the Police. He stated that his counsel had told the Magistrate that the CID could not proceed with the case as the CID could not initiate investigations on its own accord.

Mr. Samaraweera stated that the arrest of the employees and seizure of the equipment were in violation of his ‘Right to Equality and Equal Protection before the Law’ as guaranteed by the Constitution since the employees of the petitioner’s website were arrested upon a charge which was not in operation in the legal system of the country while providing false information to the magistrate. He sought compensation of Rs. 50 million.

Mr. Samaraweera cited CID computer division OIC, IP Senarathne, OIC CID, the Director CID the IGP and the AG as respondents.
Attorney-at-Law Saliya Pieris settled the petition.

Share This Post

comments powered by Disqus

Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.