Concerns about the situation of lawyers in Sri Lanka
Lawyers for Lawyers is concerned about the situation of lawyers in Sri Lanka. It was reported that multiple lawyers are the subject of targeted arrests, threats and intimidation since 2019.
On 14 April 2020, lawyer Hejaaz Hizbullah was arrested by the Criminal Investigation Division (CID). No reasons were provided to Hejaaz Hizbullah or his family at the time of the arrest. Lawyers for Lawyers has already reported on the situation of lawyer Hejaaz Hizbullah on two occasions. It has been more than 90 days since the arrest of mr. Hizbullah and he is being detained without being formally charged or presented before a court. He has limited access to his lawyers and family members.
Furthermore, it has been reported that the police have failed to act upon threats being made to the safety of lawyer Achala Senevirathne. She represents the families of 11 youths who have disappeared in 2008, a case in which senior military commanders allegedly have been implicated. She issued a complaint with the police, stating she has been threatened with physical violence and sexualized abuse.
Lawyer Swastika Arulingam has been arrested and detained for several hours on 10 June 2020, after she inquired into the arrest of individuals involved in a peaceful Black Lives Matter solidarity protest.
Lawyers for Lawyers expresses its concern over the situation of lawyers in Sri Lanka and urges the Sri Lankan authorities to guarantee in all circumstances that all lawyers in Sri Lanka are able to carry out their legitimate professional rights and duties without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.
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