Dissanayake's Rights violated, UNP to petition UN

[TamilNet, Saturday, 29 January 2005, 15:51 GMT]
"Mr. S.B.Dissanayake is entitled to his salary as a parliamentarian and according to the section 89 of the constitution. The sentence of the courts does not deprive him of the seat in Parliament. The judgement is undemocratic and illegal," said Prof G L Peiris, United National Party (UNP) parliamentarian and former Minister of Constitutional Affairs, addressing a media conference held Friday at the opposition leader's office. Prof Peiris added that they were preparing a petition to be submitted to the UN regarding Mr. Dissanayake's violation of freedom of expression.

Prof. Peries further stated, expert lawyers including Dr. Nihal Jayawardena were preparing the petition and it would be ready soon.

"We make several speeches a day and it is very unfair to ask Mr. Dissanayake whether he uttered certain phrases. We must resist any act to devalue the freedom of expression or the country and the relevance of this judgement is not confined to Mr Dissanayake alone, it should concern all citizens because it affects a fundamental right of theirs," said Prof Peiris.

Head of the UNP's committee to free political prisoner S.B.Dissanayake, parliamentarian Mr. Mahinda Wijeyasegara, accused speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara of stalling action on the request to order the prison authorities to allow Mr. Dissanayake to participate in parliamentary sittings. Mr. Wijeyasegara also said parliamentary authorities had cut down the salary of Mr. Dissanayake. He is not expecting a salary but he is committed to serving the country in general and his constituents in particular, Mr. Wijeyasegara said.

According to section 89, an MP loses his seat in parliament only if he was jailed for an offence punishable by a minimal term of two years but the Court did not specify a minimum in Mr Dissanayake's case. Therefore, his seat cannot fall vacant, Mr. Wijeyasegara pointed out.

Dr, Rajitha Senaratne said they were collecting signatures for a public petition calling for a release of Mr. Disanayake and hopes to collect one million signatures. The maha Sangha including the mahanayakes of Malwattha Asgiriya and Amarapura Chapters, eminent people including artists University vice chancellors and lectures have already signed the peition, Mr Senaratne said.

Former UNP Minister S.B. Dissanayake, is now serving prison term on a charge of contempt of Court. On Friday Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption under the Bribery Act served an indictment against Mr Dissanayake before the Colombo High Court Judge Rohini Perera.


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