Public Legal Rights Awareness Session with Former Pre-trial Detainees and Their Families
Posted by Chitrangi at November 24th, 2010
Sri Lankan JusticeMaker Fellow Harshi Perera organized a Public Legal Rights Awareness Session with former pre-trial detainees and their families. The two-hour discussion was held on November 13 in the Janasansadaya sub-office in the city of Galle. The coordinator of the Galle JS sub-office Niluka Priyadarshani also attended the event.
All participants have experience with the Galle prison system. They themselves or their direct family members have been subjected to pre-trial detention. Among the 10 participants was Ms. K.M.G. Sudarshi who, together with her husband and 2 ½ year-old child, was remanded in the Galle prison for 8 days. Another participant, Ms. W. Kalyani has a 22 year-old son who has been held in Galle prison for 4 months.
Niluka facilitated the discussion while Harshi explained the law relating to detainees by citing examples from the prison ordinance. Harshi began the discussion by recounting the cases of Nilmini Pushpakumari and N. D Anulawathi who were released under the legal aid provided by the Justice Maker project.
After hearing about the Sri Lankan law relating to prisons and the UN minimum standards rules, the participants seemed to be surprised and said that they didn’t see such law or rights implemented in Sri Lankan prisons. The participants explained what had happened to them and their relatives in the prison system. They expressed their protest and anger towards the police because most of them were remanded on fabricated charges by the police, and some of them or their relatives were victims of police torture.
Harshi concluded the discussion by getting consent from the attendees to help relate their cases to public.