( March 21, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Thannegedara Lal is now being held at the Kurunduwatta Police station as a hostage in place of a company named Ranasinghe Home Private Ltd. When asked about the arrest and detention of Thannegedara Lal by a lawyer representing the company, Inspector Kapila Premadasa informed him that as Thannegedara Lal carried a cheque on behalf of the company, the police are keeping him as a hostage since they are unable to contact any of the company directors. The police have not made any attempt to contact any of the company directors. According to Inspector Premadasa, either Lal should get one of the company directors to come to the police station or the police will produce him tomorrow before the Magistrate’s Court of Colombo. When asked under what provisions of the law Lal is being kept in police custody and charged under, Inspector Premadasa replied that we can find provisions from the law for that purpose.
When the lawyer pointed out that holding Lal amounts to keeping him hostage, the inspectors reply was that they can do that.
When informed of his matter, the Asian Human Rights Commission contacted the Kurunduwatta police and spoke to Inspector Premadasa. He confirmed the arrest and detention of Thannegedara Lal, and said that unless he is able to bring a director from the company, he will be charged in place of the company. When told that Thannegedara Lal has no link to the company and was merely acting as a messenger, the Inspector’s point of view was that the police consider him as a representative of the company. When the Inspector was told that the police are in fact keeping Lal as a hostage, and that this is a crime under the law, the Inspector replied that he does not agree.
The Asian Human Rights Commission informed the Inspector that the police are acting in violation of the law and also they are violating the human rights of Thannegedara Lal.