For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
The Government has not distanced itself from the statement made by Minister Weerawansa. He is remains a Minister even after making a statement which amount to crime. The obligation of the Government is to distance itself from the Minister’s statement.
(July 01, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) According to the Daily Mirror report, “Government Minister Wimal Weerawansa has urged the public to surround the UN office in Sri Lanka and trap the staff inside until a decision is taken by the UN Secretary General to dissolve the panel he appointed on Sri Lanka.” There were similar reports of Minister Weerawansa’s statement to a Media in other news papers.
Instigation to hostage taking is a crime. Instigation to attack diplomatic mission is also a crime. The premises of United Nations and the officers of the United Nation enjoying diplomatic status.
Instigation to hostage taking anyone is a crime. In the last few weeks we have seen the abduction of three year old child for demanding ransom. There had been many similar abduction for obtaining ransom in recent years. Anyone who engaged an instigating any person to engage in abduction for ransom is engaging in one of the meanest crime.
Hostage taking is a favorite activity of terrorist organization. For example LTTE took hostages of Government soldiers in order to demand the release of their prisoners. International terrorist organizations take hostages for various reasons. They often try to intimidate their opponent by threat of hostage taking. Such act of terrorism are international condemned as meanest forms of crime.
Therefore minister Weerawansa called for hostage taking belong to a crime falling within a terrorist activities. Under the Sri Lankan law all terrorist acts need to be investigation under anti terrorism laws. It is an obligation of the Criminal Investigation Division to arrest any person suspected of a commission of any action of terrorism. Minister Weerawansa should be investigation by the CID for statement attributed to him calling for hostage taking.
Sri Lankan Government is obligated under law to protect all diplomatic missions and all the personal working for such missions. Instigation to harm diplomatic mission and personnel is a clearly very serious crime. The Government is under obligation to ensure criminal investigation into such activity and ensure justice. There is no excuse for not taking criminal actions against Minister Weerawansa for making such a statement.
Instigation to attack the United Nation premises and personnel is morally reprehensible. It is not only a criminal act but also an act against the International Community.
The Government has not distanced itself from the statement made by Minister Weerawansa. He is remains a Minister even after making a statement which amount to crime. The obligation of the Government is to distance itself from the Minister’s statement. Usually when Minister make such a statement he would be ask to step down from the position he hold in the Government.
SB Dissanayake was punished by the Supreme Court for two years for rigorous imprisons for making a statement which amounted to a crime under the contempt of court law. Making a statement which comes under the crime of terrorism is much worse.
So long as crimes are not investigated and due process of law is followed equality before law cannot survive. Without investigation into crime it is not possible to maintain the stability of society within a frame work of rule of law. A minister that threatens a rule of law should be taken to task.