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* Bar Association calls for impartial criminal investigation into Lohan Ratwatte’s disorderly conduct
Thu, Sep 16, 2021, 11:03 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Sept 16, Colombo: The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) today requested all relevant authorities including the Attorney General and the law enforcement authorities to act forthwith against the alleged criminal conduct on the part of State Minister Lohan Ratwatte.

Issuing a statement, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka said it is deeply disturbed at the reports of the alleged criminal conduct on the part of the former State Minister of Prison Management and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Affairs and Gem and Jewellery related Industries Lohan Ratwatte which seriously calls into question his eligibility to hold office in the government any longer.

The BASL acknowledging that Mr. Ratwatte has now tendered his resignation from the office of State Minister of Prison Management and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Affairs pointed out that he has not resigned from his other ministerial portfolio as State Minister of Gem and Jewellery related Industries.

“The allegations that Mr. Ratwatte forcibly entered the prisons at Welikada with other persons and that he flew to Anuradhapura and forcibly entered the prison there and intimidated prisoners at that prison are acts of gross impunity and a threat to the rule of law,” the BASL wrote.

“The allegations against him are such that Mr. Ratwatte can no longer command the trust or responsibility of not only a government minister charged with duties in respect of prisons, but also as a minister holding any other portfolio and as a Member of Parliament.”

The Bar Association said such acts of impunity should be investigated fully and impartially and if proved be visited with penal consequences.

“It is imperative that independent and impartial investigations into these alleged criminal acts are conducted expeditiously. The BASL has noted time and again that the State has a duty to protect prisoners in their custody.”

The BASL pointed out that by tendering his resignation Mr. Ratwatte has accepted responsibility for his conduct and therefore he has forfeited his moral right to hold any office in government, ministerial or otherwise.

The BASL furthermore called upon all relevant authorities including the Attorney General and the law enforcement authorities to act forthwith in dealing with these serious acts of impunity allegedly committed by Mr. Ratwatte.

 

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