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Role of courts during a time of repression

by our political editor

[July 29, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian] Sri Lanka is going through a worst times of repression. Everybody knows that. There is no need to argue about that.

Repression always is problem created by the executive. It is the executive arm of the state that has the capacity to repress. If the repression comes from a third party, it is the executive that has the capacity to protect the citizens. If is fails to use its law enforcement capacity to protect persons, that also is a serious defect of the executive. Which ever way, the responsibility for the repression is with the executive.

Thus, in times of repression the duty of court to protect citizens is higher than ever before.

Worst scenario is when courts connives with the executive and helps the executive to repress the people.

If the courts do not want to do this and the court do not want to be seen to be doing that, the courts should actively go against the executive. The courts functioning is repressive times has this duty. It it fails people have no protection.

Among the rights that a court must protect, freedom of expressions is one of the most important freedoms it must protect. During times of repression freedom of expression is under serious attack. A court should know this and take extra effort to protect the people.

The Executive would want the courts to use contempt of court and other powers to repress journalists. Courts should desist from such practices.

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