Sri Lankan minister accused of breaking into prison in drunken state, abusing prisoners quits

© Provided by The Print

New Delhi: Lohan Ratwatte, the minister in charge of Sri Lanka’s prisons, who has been under fire for allegedly threatening to kill two Tamil prisoners, resigned Wednesday.

Ratwatte was accused this month of entering the Anuradhapura and Welikada Prisons while drunk and forcing inmates, held on charges of being associated with the Tamil Tigers or the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), to kneel at gunpoint.

Ratwatte acknowledged his responsibility for the incidents that took place at the prisons, according to a statement from the president’s office. In his resignation letter, he, however, did not confirm the allegations. “I resign as I do not want to cause embarrassment to the government in view of the media reports,” the letter said.

Besides, the State Minister of Prison Management and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation portfolio — since December 2020 — Ratwatte is also State Minister of Gem and Jewellery Related Industries, a post he still holds.

His resignation, the result of a sustained campaign by activists and opposition parties demanding his removal over the alleged unruly conduct at the prisons, however also comes at a time when Sri Lanka’s human rights track record is under the United Nation’s scanner.

Earlier this week, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, called for “close attention” to the island nation’s human rights record. Bachelet had said she looks forward to “concrete actions” from the ruling Rajapaksa government — a decade after the country witnessed a bloody civil war that led to at least 40,000 civilian deaths.

In February this year, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa reportedly wrote to Prime Minister Modi, seeking support ahead of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session. India eventually abstained from a crucial vote on the country’s rights record at the UNHCR in Geneva.

‘Degrading treatment of PTA detainees’

According to Senaka Perera, the head of the Committee for Protecting Rights of Prisoners advocacy group, Ratwatte arrived at the Welikada Prison while intoxicated on 6 September and to the Anuradhapura prison on 12 September in the same condition.

A fallout of the minister’s alleged misconduct has brought Sri Lanka’s controversial anti-terrorism law, Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), back into focus.

On Wednesday, Yamini Sharma, Asia-Pacific Director of UK-based Amnesty International said: “These dumbfounding reports go to show that our ongoing concerns regarding Sri Lanka’s treatment of prisoners, especially the authorities’ torture and other inhumane and degrading treatment of PTA detainees are all too valid.”

The PTA, introduced as a temporary measure in 1978, gives security forces in Sri Lanka sweeping powers to arrest and detain suspects.

In the past, it has been criticised by the international community, human rights activists and the UN Special Rapporteurs.

In June this year, the European Parliament noted that the PTA contains “deeply flawed provisions” such as enabling warrantless arrests and 18-month detentions with “limited court oversight”.

By 10 June, the European Parliament had adopted a resolution that called for the repeal of Sri Lanka’s PTA and consideration to temporarily withdraw its access to GSP+ (Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus), part of EU’s unilateral tariff preferences in favour of developing countries.

Amnesty International further criticised the Sri Lankan president’s recent pardon of 16 men linked to the Tamil Tiger rebels in late June this year, calling it part of “piecemeal efforts” to address the conditions of PTA prisoners.

(Edited by Paramita Ghosh)

Also read: Sri Lanka’s economic crisis worsened by hit to tea crop, could seek India help

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related


Sina Hamade on taking the leap of faith with awe-inspiring enthusiasm

© Motivate Publishing Sina Hamade Head of Operations & Marketing for Elborno Medical and Cosmetic Clinic, Sina Hamade discusses making bold decisions and going against the grain. What do the ... Read more »

'I have always believed in Coutinho' - Koeman suggests bigger Barcelona role for outcast after cameo goal

Ronald Koeman has praised Philippe Coutinho’s impact off the bench for Barcelona in a 3-1 win against Valencia on Sunday, stating that he has “always believed” in the player’s abilities and ... Read more »

Covid-19: Melbourne to ease world's longest lockdowns

© Provided by Khaleej Times Covid-19: Melbourne to ease world’s longest lockdowns Melbourne, which has spent more time under Covid-19 lockdowns than any other city in the world, is set ... Read more »

Om Puri Birth Anniversary 2021: Memorable Movies of the Actor That Prove his Versatility

© Provided by News18 A thespian like Om Puri is a rare gem in the Indian film industry. One of the pillars of the Indian new wave cinema, Puri’s role ... Read more »

Manchester United star Nemanja Matic apologises to fans ahead of Liverpool game

Manchester United’s Nemanja Matic has spoken after their defeat to Leicester City on Saturday with as a huge game against Liverpool looms. Jurgen Klopp’s side travel to Old Trafford next ... Read more »

DC's Metro pulls half of its rail cars over safety compliance problem

Washington D.C.’s Metro pulled more than half of its railcars Sunday night after the National Transportation Safety Board investigation found multiple axels out of compliance with manufacturing specifications. © Greg ... Read more »

Colorado Man with AR-15 Rifle Chased Strangulation Victim, But Homeowner Shot Him in Face: Police

© Provided by Law & Crime Colorado Springs Police Department Colorado Springs Police Department. A homeowner turned the tables on a man who used an AR-15 rifle to shoot at ... Read more »

Tarunima Sinha's recipes for cakes, bakes and your new best friands

Before Tarunima Sinha moved to the UK in 2000 to get married, she had only ever eaten two types of cake. They were made by the bakery in her village ... Read more »

GR Infra's InvIT likely next year, eyes $2 billion enterprise value

GR Infraprojects Ltd (GRIL), an integrated road engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company, plans to float its Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvIT) by early next year, multiple people aware of the ... Read more »

OCTA: NCR COVID-19 reproduction rate down to 0.58

© REUTERS/Lisa Marie David People huddle and share a meal while visiting an amusement park in Pasay City on October 16, 2021 as the National Capital Region loosens COVID-19 restrictions ... Read more »

93.8% populasi dewasa lengkap divaksin

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today PICK dilancarkan pada 24 Februari lalu bagi memberikan vaksinasi untuk membendung pandemik Covid-19 di seluruh negara. KUALA LUMPUR: Negara kini mencatat 93.8% populasi dewasa ... Read more »

MLB doing the right thing, will reportedly provide minor leaguers housing

© Provided by Fansided According to ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan, MLB will finally provide housing for minor league players. On Sunday, a report was released that noted MLB is ... Read more »

US: 3 dead after knife attack on Arkansas officer

US: 3 dead after knife attack on Arkansas officer Police in Arkansas said Sunday that three people were dead after an incident in which an officer fired his weapon while ... Read more »

Horoscope Today, October 18, 2021: See your daily astrology prediction for zodiac sign Cancer, Libra, Pisces

Cancer, Leo and Aquarius ascendant sign people are advised to be cautious on the health front and take appropriate care of themselves. Read your daily predictions to know the possibilities ... Read more »

Kerala rain: Death toll rises to 24, yellow alert in 11 districts | 10 points

© Provided by Hindustan Times NDRF personnel and other teams have been carrying out search and rescue operations at flood-affected area in Kottayam. (ANI Photo) At least 24 people have ... Read more »

Lakhimpur Kheri violence: SKM to hold nationwide rail-roko agitation today demanding MoS Ajay Mishra's resignation

© Provided by DNA Demanding the removal of Ajay Mishra ‘Teni’, the Union Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs, from the Union Cabinet over the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, the ... Read more »

University lecturers threaten strike over pay

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo  Universities have ‘three weeks to save term’, lecturers are warning as they threaten to strike in a fresh blow to long-suffering students. The ... Read more »

Marxists try to take Federal Reserve as Biden weighs whether to reappoint Powell: Devine

President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the dedication of the Dodd Center for Human Rights at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut, October 15, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis President Biden ... Read more »

Terengganu beri keutamaan pemohon bantuan sudah divaksin

© Provided by Sinar Harian KUALA TERENGGANU – Kerajaan negeri Terengganu mengambil keputusan untuk memberi keutamaan kepada permohonan bantuan daripada individu yang sudah menerima vaksin Covid-19. Exco Kebajikan, Pembangunan Wanita, ... Read more »

The dark web is rising

© Provided by The Edge KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 18): Cybercriminals have been having a field day since the start of the pandemic as private and public institutions scrambled to cope ... Read more »

From oil to renewables, winds of change blow on Scottish islands

© ADRIAN DENNIS As Shetland turns to renewable energy, wind turbines are part of the island’s new priorities In the far north of the United Kingdom, where the wind blows ... Read more »

Fitch revises upward Singapore's growth forecast to 6.3%

© Provided by Singapore Business Review Fitch Solutions has revised its growth forecast for Singapore to 6.3% from 6.1%, following the expansion of GDP by 6.5% year-on-year (YoY) seasonally adjusted ... Read more »

China property shares firm after PBOC says Evergrande woes manageable

© Reuters/Tyrone Siu China Evergrande Centre is seen in Hong Kong HONG KONG (Reuters) – Shares of Chinese property developers climbed on Monday after China’s central bank calmed markets by ... Read more »

PUBG Mobile Global Championship 2021 will feature 40 teams competing for $6 million

© Provided by Dot Esports The PUBG Mobile Global Championship (PMGC) 2021 will feature 40 teams from around the globe competing for the title of world champions and a share ... Read more »

Cleo, 4, went missing from her family's tent in the early morning. It's been more than 48 hours.

It’s been two days since Ellie Smith last saw her four-year-old daughter. © Getty Images Cleo, 4, went missing from her family’s tent in the early morning. It’s been more ... Read more »

Corruption at the top? Gladys Berejiklian faces her ICAC moment of truth

Did former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian facilitate the potential misuse of $35 million of public money to help the electoral prospects of former boyfriend Daryl Maguire? And if so, was ... Read more »

Goldman Sachs gets regulator nod for full ownership of China securities JV

(Reuters) – Goldman Sachs said on Sunday it received an approval from China’s securities regulator to take full control of its mainland securities business. © Reuters/David Gray The logo of ... Read more »

Jealous husband ‘choked wife to death' and ‘faked search to rule himself out as suspect'

A jealous husband choked his wife to death and set up a false search for her in a bid to rule himself out as a suspect, it is reported. © ... Read more »

Malaysian in Guantanamo terror trial says translator was biased

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Nazir Lep’s counsel Brian Bouffard said the US government had failed to secure a competent Malay translator. PETALING JAYA: A Malaysian facing a terrorism ... Read more »

Tennis-Britain's Norrie tops Basilashvili to win Indian Wells title

Tennis: BNP Paribas Open-Day 13 (Reuters) – Cameron Norrie battled back to defeat Nikoloz Basilashvili 3-6 6-4 6-1 in the Indian Wells final on Sunday and become the first British ... Read more »

Joc Pederson welcomes Dodgers to Joctober with monster homer (Video)

© Provided by Fansided Joc Pederson welcomes the Los Angeles Dodgers to Joctober, pearls and all. Joc Pederson gets sweet revenge on his former team by obliterating this poor baseball ... Read more »

Melbourne Cup winner Gai Waterhouse hits out at jumps racing move, joins Oakbank Racing Club

Decorated horse trainer Gai Waterhouse has lashed critics of jumps racing as she pushes to overturn a decision to scrap the controversial practice in South Australia, insisting that horses “love to do ... Read more »

Restrictions remain in Tasmania despite lockdown exit this evening

Tasmania’s lockdown for the 12 LGAs in the state’s south will end at 6pm tonight, Premier Peter Gutwein has announced. Mask wearing will still be mandatory both indoors and outdoors ... Read more »

Queensland police officer Robert Eickenloff in court after allegedly helping daughter in COVID-19 border breach

A south-east Queensland police officer accused of helping his daughter breach the state’s COVID-19 border restrictions has appeared in court. Senior Constable Robert William Eickenloff was charged with misconduct in public ... Read more »

PH up in Peddling Peril Index list

The Philippines has improved its ranking the the latest edition of the Peddling Peril Index (PPI), the Trade department said on Sunday, moving up to 49th out of 200 countries ... Read more »

Cameron Norrie seals British No 1 ranking with biggest title of his career at Indian Wells

Cameron Norrie won the biggest title of his career in Indian Wells. The world No 26 came from a set and a break down to defeat Nikoloz Basilashvili 3-6 6-4 ... Read more »

The next step down? Stage is multiply set for a weaker rupee

© Provided by The Financial Express And, given RBI’s gigantic war chest—over $575 billion of foreign currency assets, plus a further $50 billion or so of forward purchases—it should be ... Read more »

$54.5m for Vic business outdoor trading

© Erik Anderson/AAP PHOTOS Melbourne’s pubs can open for 20 fully vaccinated customers indoors, and 50 outdoors, from Friday. Businesses and councils can apply for a share in a $54.5 ... Read more »

India vs England Live Streaming ICC T20 World Cup 2021 warm-up: When and Where to watch IND vs ENG Live in India

© Provided by Zee News All-rounder Hardik Pandya’s form and few batting slots will be foremost on captain Virat Kohli’s mind as India look to make the most of two ... Read more »

States to end FY22 on a slightly better note

© Provided by The Financial Express As of now, the capex trends are nothing to write home about and one would need to see a smart pick up in the ... Read more »