President’s Head of Security at inquiry over assault on journalists

President’s Head of Security at inquiry over assault on journalists

President’s Head of Security at inquiry over assault on journalists

Written by Zulfick Farzan

24 Aug, 2022 | 8:36 pm

President's Head of Security at inquiry over assault on journalists

COLOMBO (News 1st); SSP Nizam Jamaldeen, the current Director of the President's Security Division, and the Former Director of the Prime Minister's Security Division was summoned to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka on Wednesday (24), with regard to the complaint filed by MTV Channel (PVT) Limited over the assault on News 1st journalists who were reporting on the protests that took place opposite Ranil Wickremesinghe's Private Residence on the 9th of July 2022.

The inquiry took place in the presence of the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka Retired Supreme Court Judge Rohini Marasinghe and Human Rights Commissioner Anusuya Shanmuganathan.

The SSPs party had requested the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka to allow for submissions to be made after the Fundamental Rights application filed over the incident it taken up at the Supreme Court. However, that request was turned down.

The HRCSL emphasized if SSP Nizam Jamaldeen does not provide a statement, it will be considered as he has nothing to submit to the commission with regard to the assault on journalists.

Accordingly, SSP Nizam Jamaldeen was notified to appear at the commission again on the 9th of September. 

President's Counsel Ronald Perera appearing on behalf of SSP Nizam Jamaldeen revealed that his client had made him aware over the phone on Tuesday (23) evening that a case had been filed with the Supreme Court over the violation of Fundamental Rights.

The counsel apprised the commission that SSP Jamaldeen is unwilling to provide a statement until case records are assessed and advice is sought from his client. 

President's Counsel Ronald Perera also noted he believes his client will be prejudiced if a statement is provided on Wednesday (24) adding he had advised his client to refrain from providing such a statement. 

Counsel representing MTV Channel Private Limited Damitha Karunarathne said the petition filed at the Supreme Court and the probe at the HRCSL are two separate examinations, pointing out that no court or institution had issued an injunction to halt the commission's investigation. 

Attorney at Law Damitha Karunarathne added the rights of the MTV Channel Private Limited and its journalists will be seriously affected if the inquiry is postponed.

He requested that a final decision be announced as soon as possible.

After considering the facts, the Chairman of the Commission stated she had it was her understanding that President's Counsel Ronald Perera had presented facts without fully comprehending facts provided in Act no.21 of the Human Rights Commission. 

She noted, that Supreme Court's case and the investigation conducted by the HRCSL were conducted in two separate contexts. 

Quoting certain clauses, Chairman Rohini Marasinghe said the HRCSL's probe should not be halted in light of the Supreme Court's examination, elaborating that the HRCSL probe should continue. 

The Chairman emphasized that SSP Jamaldeen refraining from providing testimony when it is of paramount importance to the probe, should not be done so according to the Act. 
 

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