Do not protect an accused charged before a court of law

An open letter to the Attorney General
An Open Letter from the Asian Human Rights Commission to the Honourable Attorney General of Sri Lanka

| by Md Ashrafuzzaman
Programme Officer
Urgent Appeals Programme
( January 19, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Asian Human Rights Commission has learned of your decision to take over the prosecution of a Private Plaint filed in the Magistrate’s Court of Panadura, without the consent of the Complainant of the said case, upon an application and representations made by and on behalf of the Accused who is a Superintendent of Police. The case bears No. 92368 (Private Plaint)
The decision of the Attorney General was communicated to Court by the Senior State Counsel who appeared in Court on December 15, 2011, in the case referred to.
The accused in this case is Lesly Hamilton Gregory Cooray who was the Superintendent of Police for Panadura area, at the time that the alleged incident took place. The Complainant is M. Nishantha Fernando Jayawardena.
By this decision you will be protecting an accused charged before a court of law. This is very opposite to what an Attorney General who exercises the public prosecutors role is suppose to do. This is dangerous to the nation as it undermines the rule of law. Your role is to protect the rule of law and not to undermine it. Thus this is gross abuse of your powers. The AG’s power to exercise nolle proseque ( Not to prosecute), should not be so trivially used in violation of the principle of equality before law.
We do not know whether this is done due to political pressure or on your own initiative. Whatever, be the reason there is no excuse for threatening the rule of law in this manner.
Besides, you are depriving a citizen a right to a remedy. That is the worst that can be done to a victim of crime. Sri Lankan Government is duty bound to provide all citizens remedy for the crimes they suffer. This also an international obligation under Article 2 of Civil and Political Rights Covenant, ICCPR.
In recent times former AG’s have abused their powers and there is on going public criticism on that score. Your action will further bring bad image to the institution you are heading.
We urge you to review your illegal and wrong decision in this case. And withdraw your takeover of this prosecution with the view to withdraw it and thus help an accused who is charged in a court of law. By withdrawing this decision your will assist in rebuilding much damaged national stability and also respect the rights of a citizen to pursue justice, which is been so badly sabotaged.

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Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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