The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) today requested all relevant authorities including the Attorney General and the law enforcement authorities to act forthwith against the alleged criminal conduct on the part of State Minister Lohan Ratwatte. In a statement, BASL Secretary Rajeev Amarasuriya said the alleged criminal conduct on the part of the State Minister of Prison Management and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Affairs and Gem and Jewellery related Industries Lohan Ratwatte which seriously calls into question his eligibility to hold office in the government any longer. ‘By tendering his resignation Mr. Ratwatte has accepted responsibility for his conduct and therefore he has forfeited his moral right to hold any office in government, ministerial or otherwise,’ the BASL said. The BASL said allegations that Ratwatte forcibly entered the prisons at Welikada with other persons and that he flew to Anuradhapura and forcibly entered the prison there and intimidated prisoners at that prison are acts of gross impunity and a threat to the rule of law. The allegations against him are such that Mr. Ratwatte can no longer command the trust or responsibility of not only a government minister charged with duties in respect of prisons, but also as a minister holding any other portfolio and as a Member of Parliament. Such acts of impunity are ones which should be investigated fully and impartially and if proved be visited with penal consequences. It is imperative that independent and impartial investigations into these alleged criminal acts are conducted expeditiously, the BASL statement said.
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