Sept 14, Colombo: The Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court today rejected a request made by his lawyers for the release of former Western Province Governor Azath Salley, who is being remanded under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
When the case was taken up before Colombo Chief Magistrate Buddhika C. Ragala today, President’s Counsel Maithri Gunaratne, appearing for the suspect Azath Salley, stated that his client was arrested by the CID on the instructions of the Attorney General on serious charges under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
President's Counsel Maithri Gunaratne pointing out that the CID however, has already reported to court that there is no evidence that his client had links with the suspects in the Mawanella Buddha statue demolition case, asked the court to release his client as no evidence had been uncovered under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
Senior State Counsel Wasantha Perera, appearing for the CID, stated that a case has been filed in the Colombo High Court under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the United Nations Convention on Civil and Political Rights against a statement made by the suspect at a press conference and the case is scheduled to be heard in the High Court No.2 in November.
The suspect has requested the Attorney General through his lawyers to release him on bail in connection with the case, the Senior State Counsel said.
Accordingly, the case is currently pending in the High Court and the Magistrate's Court has no jurisdiction to consider the request for the release of the suspect, said Senior State Counsel Wasantha Perera and asked the court to reject the suspect’s bail plea.
After considering the submissions made by both parties, the Chief Magistrate stated that the case is currently pending in the High Court and the request for bail will be rejected.
However, the magistrate said that there was a serious discrepancy between the edited statement published by the media allegedly stated at a press conference and his overall statement.
The magistrate said that although the suspect had been accused of undermining inter-ethnic harmony in his edited statement, the court observed that when examining his unedited full text, it has emphasized that all communities should move forward together.
Accordingly, the Chief Magistrate of Colombo in open court pointed out that the media edits and publishes the parts they want, which harms the people and if anything happens through it, the media has to bear the responsibility and the CID should pay attention to such activities by the media.