CTA Bill to be tabled in Parliament today

Published : 12:10 am  October 9, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 

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Karujayasuriya

By Sandun A Jayasekera 

Foreign Affairs Minister Tilak Marapana will table the Counter Terrorism Act (CTA) in Parliament today and if approved it will replace the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).  

 

The PTA was highly criticised by human rights activists, some sections of the global community and the Tamil Diaspora.   


One of the main provisions of the draft Bill is the requirement to produce a suspect within 48 hours of his arrest to a Magistrate. Under the PTA it was to be done so within 72 hours or held in custody indefinitely without being produced before a Magistrate.   


The new law empowers the Magistrate to refuse an extension of detention orders after two weeks and release the suspect after six months if legal proceedings have not been initiated against the suspect.   
The Magistrate is free to meet a suspect in custody, inspect the place of detention and talk to him to ensure his well-being.   

 

One of the main provisions of the draft Bill is the requirement to  produce a suspect within 48 hours of his arrest to a Magistrate.


A detention order, after framing charges can only be extended every three months up to a maximum of 18 months following the suspect being produced before the Magistrate.   


Another important feature of the proposed CTA is that a confession can be accepted in a court of law only if it is given before a Magistrate and not to a law enforcement officer as stated in the PTA. A suspect could not be held in remand for more than six months without filing action against him or her.   


The Attorney General is empowered to suspend or defer the filing of charges against a suspect for a period of not less that five years and not more than ten years. The IGP is required to maintain a data base with information on charges, arrest, detention, prosecution, conviction, etc under the CTA.   


The abrogation of the PTA and replacing it with a more humanitarian law is one of the undertakings under the UNHRC resolution 30/1 co-sponsored by Sri Lanka in 2015.

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