Rishad can’t attend parliament, says Minister; AG says no legal impediment

Rishad can’t attend parliament, says Minister; AG says no legal impediment

Rishad can’t attend parliament, says Minister; AG says no legal impediment

Written by Zulfick Farzan

05 May, 2021 | 1:28 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st): MP Rishad Bathiudeen cannot be brought to parliament as he was arrested and detained under the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, said Public Security Minister Rear Admiral (Retd) Dr. Sarath Weerasekara on Wednesday (05).

“By doing so it would obstruct the ongoing investigations,” said the Minister adding these investigations relate to National Security.

“If information surrounding the investigations are revealed to parliament using parliament privileges, suspects who are to be arrested in the future may flee or prepare themselves to face the inquiry,” he added.

However, Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa reprimanded the minister for failing to mention the matters of national security with regard to facilitating Rishad Bathiudeen to attend Parliament, when the Business Committee of Parliament convened.

“The only reason the govt cited for not bringing Rishad Bathiudeen to Parliament was that he was in contact with the COVID-19 patient,” added the Opposition Leader.

The Speaker too affirmed that he was officially informed that COVID-19 was cited as the reason and the matter needs to be discussed further.

Opposition MPs reprimanded the government for attempting to use the Prevention of Terrorism Act as a tool to suppress the government.

They questioned how the Minister of Public Security can decide on MP Rishad Bathiudeens’ attendance in Parliament.

Opposition MP Dr. Harsha De Silva reminded the Public Security Minister that laws are mentioned in the constitution and a minister cannot go against the constitution.

However, At the request of the Director of the CID, Attorney General Dappula De Livera has informed the CID that there is no legal impediment in facilitating MP Rishad Bathiudeen from attending Parliament sessions.

State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne, the Coordinating Officer to the Attorney General confirmed this to News 1st.

According to the letter dated the 03rd of May 2021, seen by News 1st, the CID director had requested permission from the Attorney General on facilitating the attendance of arrested detained Rishad Bathiudeen at Parliament sessions, on the 30th of April.

The Attorney General had responded noting that having considered the contents of the CID letter and the material made available and the relevant provisions of the law, there is no legal impediment for the MP to attend Parliament sessions.

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