Petitioners claim they were arrested under law repealed 10 years ago

=FR case by Srilankamirror website employees
=Case put off for February 2013

The Supreme Court on Thursday decided to inquire into the fundamental rights petitions filed by six employees of Srilankamirror website.The court decided to inquire into the alleged rights violations, by the CID, of the freedom to engage in lawful occupation, freedom of expression and illegal arrest of the petitioners.

Counsel Saliya Pieris for the petitioners argued that the CID obtained the search warrant to search the website office and arrest the employees mainly relying upon Section 118 of the Penal Code dealing with publishing of articles defaming the President, a piece of law that was repealed ten years before – in 2002.

He also pointed out that Section 115 of the Penal Code, cited by the CID to arrest the petitioners, dealt only with waging war against the State using men and weapons and was totally irrelevant in this case. He argued that the CID had wrongfully arrested the petitioners without any suspicion about the individual petitioners. He contended that there should be sufficient suspicions about each and every petitioner, to arrest them all, together, he further contended.

He also argued that the CID had misled the magistrate to obtain a warrant to search the Srilankamirror office, informing the magistrate that the Srilankamirror website had not been registered, according to an order of the Supreme Court.
Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake observed that she had not made an order that news websites should be registered.
Appearing for the respondents Deputy Solicitor General (DSG) Shavendra Fernando argued there were articles defamatory of the judiciary and top officials of the Government while obscene material was also in the computers seized by the CID.
The CJ observed that there had been articles about her in certain websites.

Refuting the claim of the DSG, Counsel Saliya Pieris argued, if at all there was such material the petitioners could not be held responsible since the computers were used by almost everyone.

The Bench comprised Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake and Justices K. Sripavan and Eva Wanasundara, PC.
Petitioners, Editor Kelum Shivantha, photojournalist Ajith Seneviratne and journalists Shiranthini Manawadu, Himashi Karunaratne and Tharindu Rajapaksa and office assistant W.P.Premawathi cited CID Computer Division OIC, Inspector Senaratne, OIC CID, the Director CID, the IGP and the Attorney General as respondents.

The petitioners except office assistant W.P. Premawathi is seeking five million rupees as compensation.
Office assistant W.P. Premawathi sought one million rupees as compensation.

The petitioners stated that the CID, during its raid of theSrilankamirror office at Etul Kotte on June 29 illegally arrested the petitioners who were released on the following day by the Colombo Magistrate’s Court on Police bail.Counsel Saliya Pieris with Upul Kumarapperuma and instructed by Paul Ratnayake Associates appeared for the petitioners.
DSG Shavendra Fernando with Senior State Counsel Nerin Pulle appeared for the respondents.
The case was put off for inquiry on February 7, 2013.

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