FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION SRI LANKA

For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya

Lawyers in North protest death threats

Thursday, 06 May 2010 01:21
By Susitha R. Fernando

All judicial activities in the entire Northern Province came to a standstill as the lawyers went on indefinite strike in protest of a death threat on Chaavakachcheari Magistrate who was inquiring into a recent killing of a student after a ransom demand.

The attorneys in all five districts Jaffna, Vavuniya, Mannar, Mullaitivu and Chavakachcheri kept away from reporting to courts crippling all the judicial activities. The Northern Bar decided not to report to courts, until a satisfactory solutions is given on the intimidation of the judiciary and safety of the judicial officers are ensured.

Chaavakachcheari Magistrate K. J. Pirabakaran received death threats from an unknown armed group last week. He is inquiring into the murder of school boy Kapilanadh.

“We will be continuing to boycott courts activities until the protection of the judicial officers are assured,” Vice President of the Jaffna Zonal of Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), Anton Punethanayagam  told the Daily Mirror.

‘This is a threat on the independence of the judiciary and whoever it is the authorities should bring them before law’, Mr. Punethanayagam said.

Initially on Monday the lawyers practicing in Chaavakachcheari court abstained from appearing in court Monday expressing their protest and condemnation against the death threat issued to Magistrate.

Joining the Northern Bar, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka extended its solidarity with the protest over the incident. “We are very concerned over this and closely monitoring the developments, President of the BASL, Shibly Aziz PC said. He also said that he was planning to take action with the appropriate authority.

“If this allegation is true serious action would be taken against it”, Mr. Aziz said.

In the wake of alleged death threats to Chaavakachcheari Magistrate, Jaffna Commander, Major Gen. Mahintha Kathurusinghe provided military protection to Chaavakachcheari courts in addition to police protection. The Commander had said that he had also arranged for military protection to Pirabakaran’s vehicle when he travels from Jaffna to Chaavakachcheari and back.

Last Sunday Chaavakachcheari Police had arrested a member of EPDP for allegedly threatening Chavakachcheari Magistrate K. Prabakaran. According to the reports the threat was for issuing an arrest warrant on EPDP suspects involved in the abduction and murder of student Kapilnath in last March.
http://www.dailymirror.lk/print/index.php/news/front-page-news/9909.html

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