Posted on 06.22.2019 by Chandana Sirimalwatte in Views with 0 Comments
Shakthika Sathkumara, Lankan author who was arrested by the police on April 1st has been extended time in remand until 25th June.
On the 18th of June he was produced to magistrate court since his remand period was extended until then on April 23, when he was last produced to magistrate of Polgahawela. The same magistrate has extended the writer’s incarceration when he was brought before the courts on April 9. This consecutive extensions of remand period are owing to the fact that magistrate court is powerless to bail out an accused indicted under Lankan ICCPR Act based on the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which ironically is meant for protecting civil and political rights.
Shakthika Sathkumara, 33-year-old father of two children, was called to give a statement to Polgahawela police where he was taken into custody, following complaint by a Buddhist monk. The accusers including the monk are claiming that he defamed Buddhism in a short fiction posted on social media.
Sathkumara, at the time of arrest served as a development officer at the Polgahawela divisional administration office. Sathkumara’s latest short fiction, Ardha (Half) which is related to a youth whom once was a Buddhist monk himself has been accused of defamatory to Buddhism.
Any person arrested on the charges of Section 3 of the ICCPR could only be granted bail by the High Court. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. Resolution 2200A (XXI) on 16 December 1966. It was ignored by the consecutive Lankan governments but the Rajapaksha regime ultimately but reluctantly adopted it in 2007 however, the entire content of the covenant has not been included in the Lankan Act.
On April 9, the first day Sathkumara’s case was heard, Polgahawela police did not even presented the short story Ardha and other relevant information to the court instead requested more time for investigations. Agreeing with the police, the magistrate remanded Sathkumara until April 23.