BASL begins Anti-Torture Unit, new hotline to report cases | Daily News

BASL begins Anti-Torture Unit, new hotline to report cases

The Legal Aid Committee of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has inaugurated the Anti-Torture Unit in cohesion to the BASL’s commitment to stopping incidents of torture.

Addressing the ceremony, BASL President President’s Counsel Saliya Peiris stated that many years ago, the BASL had a Legal Aid Foundation. Thousands of people benefited from that service then.This came to a halt sometime later. After several years, we are now inaugurating this Anti-Tortue Unit, Peiris said.

“When we looked at the options we had, we realised that torture, deaths in custody and police brutality are some things that we are seriously committed to stopping. It is an important aspect of the rule of law,”he stressed.

The BASL will introduce a hotline, run by volunteers, who will take down the complaints. The unit will also coordinate with the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka.

“We hope that young lawyers will also get involved in this new Unit and that we will be able to train them. If we are to curb custodial torture, it will also have to reach the level of magistrate’s courts,”he also added.

Supreme Court Judge Justice S.Thurairaja stated that majority of the tortures exists at many institutions, including within the Police, Prisons and Universities.

“The justice further noted that even harassment can go up to become torture. It also takes many forms such as mental, psychological and physical forms. It is a very timely gesture by the BASL,” he added.

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