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Sri Lanka’s police spokesperson calls for power to issue detention orders

Sri Lanka’s police spokesperson DIG Ajith Rohana said that the power to issue detention orders for suspects arrested on terrorism-related activities should be granted to the security services instead of to the courts, as he called for harsher laws and a greater role of powers for the police.

“Usually, we go before a Magistrate to get detention orders or to get an extension,” he told an inquiry into the Easter Sunday attacks. “My personal opinion is that a DIG must be given the power to extend detention orders... A Magistrate who operates in an area where terrorism or religious extremism is rife is somewhat unsafe. Pressure can be exerted on the Magistrate. But since the investigators are trained, armed and are in camps they have no such worries.”

Rohana, who was on a Sri Lankan committee that provided inputs for the Counter Terrorism Act (CTA) proposed by the previous regime, went on to state that nail should not be granted to any terrorism suspects for at least one year. “I am making these suggestions based on the complexity of terrorism these days,” he claimed.

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His demand comes after a former inspector general of the police probing the Easter Sunday attacks testified that the bomber of the Tropical Inn in Dehiwela had met with an Intelligence official 45 minutes before he blew himself up.

Several Sri Lankan parliamentarians have also claimed that members of the National Thawheed Jammath (NTJ) who were deemed responsible for the attacks were being paid by Sri Lankan intelligence and had established links with Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

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