Saturday, 25 April 2020


24 April 2020


Mr Kalinga Indatissa, PC, President

Mr W J Shavindra Fernando, PC, Vice President

Mr Rajeev Amarasuriya, Secretary

Vishwa de Livera Tennakoon, Assistant Secretary

Dear Sirs,


We write with deep concern as Attorneys at Law regarding the very serious situation surrounding the detention of Mr Hejaaz Hizbullah, Attorney at Law in denial of his right to due access to legal counsel and his family.

We believe that as the professional body entrusted with safeguarding a  conducive environment for its members to engage in professional duties freely and fearlessly, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) should take swift, effective and meaningful action where legal guarantees of its members are denied. We call upon the BASL to consider the following and take necessary action immediately to ensure Mr Hizbullah's rights are guaranteed and due process is adhered to:

a) We refer to the attached statement by members of civil society that highlight circumstances of his arrest and detention and further note that over 8 days have passed since the arrest and detention of Mr Hizbullah. We understand that the situation has not changed up to date;

b) Neither reasons for his arrest nor provisions of law under which he is  continued to be detained has been officially served upon him. This violates  the basic Constitutional shield from being arrested except according to

procedure established by law and the right to be informed of the reason for the arrest (Article 13(1) of the Constitution);

c) We further understand that he has not even been produced before a Magistrate to date, in violation of the right to judicial oversight of the custody and propriety of conditions involved;

d) Most alarmingly, Mr Hizbullah has been denied access to his family and even lawyers except for a brief 15 minutes with an attorney at law under the scrutiny of an eavesdropping CID officer. This does not constitute due access to one's lawyer by any stretch of imagination and involves denial of due recourse to justice through proper and effective representation. Whilst there is no official confirmation as to under which law Mr Hizbullah has been arrested, no law in operation allows denial of access for the purpose of legal representation. Moreover, Section 15 read with Section 23 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance Act No 5 of 2018 requires any person deprived of liberty to have access to relatives and legal representation. This legal right continues to be violated in this matter.
The above are all very basic guarantees to persons arrested under the law. Irrespective of the merits of the case, these guarantees should be available and assured to all persons subject to a deprivation of liberty. Whilst we fully appreciate that investigations on any alleged or genuinely suspected offence should not be hampered, the authorities should proceed only and strictly as prescribed under the law. We further refer to the Constitutional provision that 'all persons shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty' which will be rendered meaningless if these basic protections are not guaranteed at the investigation stage.
We emphasise that violation of the above guarantees in respect of a member of the legal profession sends out a chilling message to other lawyers and the general  public regarding the state of due process and the ability of the BASL to stand effectively for the rights of those who represent persons in high-profile cases. A  free, fearless and independent legal profession being one of the most important features of a democracy to protect rights of individuals, it is the duty of the leadership of the professional body to do its utmost to defend the ability to function as lawyers, without obstruction, fear or favour.
We are concerned and perturbed that no firm and open stand has been taken by the BASL on this matter all this time, notwithstanding that the rights of all attorneys-at- law to undertake protection of the rights of their clients are jeopardised by this state of affairs. We earnestly urge for immediate action to remedy the situation and to restore confidence in the ability of legal professionals to practice by having access to their clients, without being shut out /obstructed by police officers or any other authority without legal basis.
We further request to be updated on the action taken on this request. Yours faithfully,

Signatories in alphabetical order,

1.A. A. M. Illiyas, PC
2.A. C. F. Benazir 
3.Ahamed M. ussain 
4.Ahmed Imran Irfana 
5.Althaf Marsoof
6.Amila Madushan Perera 
7.Atham Lebbe Aazath 
8.Ashan Fernando 
9.Ayesha Prasad
10.B. Gowthaman 
11.Basheer Ahamed 
12.Bhavani Fonseka 
13.Bianca Anandappa 
14.Binendri Perera 
15.Buddhinee Herath 
16.Prof. Camena Guneratne 
17.Chalani Edirisuriya 
18.Charmaine Tillekeratne 
19.Deanne Uyangoda 
20.Delan De Silva
21.Dhanushan Kaneshayogan 
22.Dinesh Vidanapathirana 
23.Dr. Dinesha amararatne 
24.Dinukshi Thalgahagoda
25.Divya Mascranghe 
26.Ermiza Tegal
27.F. Fihama Feroze
28.F. M. F. Rahma
29.F. S. A. Hassen
30.F. S. Ahamed
31.F. Maiza Azar 
32.Faaiz  Ameer 
33.Fadia Noordeen
34.Farman J Cassim,PC
 35.Fashana Afaz 
36.Fathima Muzna
37.Fathima Nuzreth Rasheed
38.G. C. J Perera 
39.Gehan Gunatilleke
40.Geoffrey Alagaratnam, PC 
41.Hafsa Mowjood 
42.Hamsana Vamadeva 
43.Harindrini Corea
44.Harith de Mel 
45.Heshanthi Madugalle
46.Husni M. Rizni 
47.Hussain Azhar Sainoon 
48.Imaz Imthiyaz 
49.Imthiyaz Wahab
50.Inthikab Idroos 
51.Ishara Gunawardena 
52.J.N.H.M. Markar
53.Javid Yusuf 
54.Jegatheeswary Muthusamy 
55.Jerusha Crossette-Thambiah 
56.Jiffry Abusaly
57.Jivan Goonetilleke 
58.Justice Saleem Marsoof, PC
59.K. W. Janaranjana 
61.Kamani Jinadasa 
62.Keshan Thalgahagoda 
63.Khyati Wikramanayake 
64.Lal Wijenayake 65.Lasantha Y. Garusinghe 
66.Leon Fernando 
67.Luwie Ganeshathasan
68.M Nizam Kariapper, PC
69.M. C. M. Nawas
70.M. G. M. Sharmila Hind
71.M. H. M. Fazlur Rahman
72.M. I. M. Ishar
73.M. I. M. Iynullah
74.M. J. F. Suraiya
75.M. M. F. Shafeena
76.M. M. Fathima Shamila
77.M. N. Shaila Banu
78.M. Nizar Fawzul Nizaya
79.M. S. A. Wadood
80.M.C. M. Muneer
81.Maithri Wickremesinghe, PC 
82.Malsirini de Silva 
83.Manjula Sirimane
84.Mass L. Usuf 
85.Milinda Jayatilleke
86.Minal E. Wickremesinghe 
87.Mohamed Farook Rushdiya 
88.Mohomed Adamaly 
89.Mubarak M Muazzam
90.Muhammad Ibrahim Aminudeen
91.N G Saabir Sawaad
92.N R Sivendran
93.N.K. Ashokbharan 94.Nalani Manatunga 95.Natasha Balendra 96.Nethmini Medawala
97.P. M. M. Aslam 
98.Prabodha Rathnayaka 
99.Prasad Sarathchandra
100.Prasansani Bandaranayake 
101.Prashanthi Mahindaratne

102.Pulasthi Hewamanna 
103.Rameez Basheer 
104.Ravi Algama 
105.Razmara Abdeen 
106.Revan Weerasinghe 
107.Rohan Dunuwille 
108.Roshan Hettiarachchi  109.Roshana Rashid 
110.Ruvini Perera
111.S A C A Sabry 
112.S. Jayasuriya
113. Sabra Zahid
114. Sabry Nilamudeen
115. Samihah Ashruff 
116.Sanjaya Wilson Jayasekera 
117.Sanjendra Vignarajah
118. Sanjit Dias
119. Sankhitha Gunaratne 
120.Sarah Arumugam 
121.Sathya Efrem
122.Prof. Savitri Goonesekere 
123.Sha Mohamed 
124.Shabna Jiffry 
125.Shaheena Mohamed 
126.Shalomi Daniel 
127.Shanaka Amarasinghe 
128.Shanil Wijesinha 
129.Sharafi Mohideen 
130.Sharmaine Gunaratne 
131.Shazina Weerabangsa 
132.Shihar Hassan 
133.Sindhu Ratnarajan 
134.Sudarshna Gunawardena 
135.Suhadini Wickremasinghe 
136.Sundari De Alwis 
137.Suren D Perera 
138.Suren Fernando 
139.Suresh Fernando 
140.Suresh R I Perera 
141.Sushmitha Thayanandan 
142.Prof. Suri Ratnapala 
143.Suriya Wickremasinghe
 144.Suzie Beling 
145.Swasthika Arulingam
146.T. K. Azoor 
147.Tahira Cader 
148.Thanuka Nandasiri
 149.Thiagi Piyadasa 
150.Upul Jayasuriya PC
151.Upul Kumarapperuma 
152.Uthuma Lebbe Ali Zakky 
153.Uween Jayasinha
154.Varuna Mallawarachchi 
155.Vijula Arulanantham 
156.Yamini Ravindran
157.Z F Sharfaa
158.Zainul Luthufi Mohamed Naim

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