May 20, Colombo: The Standing Committee of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka on Rule of Law has today condemned the killing of a suspect who was under police custody.
Issuing a statement the BASL said this is the most recent of a series of incidents where suspects in police custody for committing serious criminal offences have been killed without recourse to the law.
The CID arrested the suspect, Kahandawala Arachchige Tharuka Nilusha alias Tharuka Nilan, in Ududumbara in the Teldeniya police area on Saturday for the recent abduction of two police officers in Kurunegala and killing one of them.
According to the police spokesman, the suspect was taken to Ududumbara to retrieve the T-56 weapon used for the killing of the policeman. The suspect has attempted to hurl a hand grenade hidden near the weapon at the officers and a CID officer has opened fire at the suspect killing him.
"In a civilized society state custody is said to be the safest custody but it is regrettable that in our country the rule of law has reached a situation where state custody has become the most dangerous custody," the BASL said in the statement.
"It is unthinkable that our law enforcement authorities and those responsible for administration of justice has up-to-date not even raised this as a serious issue," the organization noted.
The BASL said the government has to be accountable for the loss of life of any person in police custody which amounts to state custody and the government cannot forsake its responsibility for the safety of persons in its custody.
"While we condemn these illegal and inhuman actions we call upon those responsible for the administration of justice to intervene to see that rule of law prevails and that our country does not enter into an era where jungle law prevails," the lawyers said.