Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court issued a significant ruling regarding the arrest and detention of writer Mohamed Razik Mohamed Ramzy, also known as Ramzy Razik, He was arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) based on a Facebook post urging Sri Lankan Muslims to engage in an ideological struggle amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The court observed a troubling trend of arrests without sufficient cause, violating individuals’ fundamental rights. Ramzy Razik was detained for over five months before being granted bail. The judgment highlighted the importance of law enforcement officials exercising their discretionary authority diligently and independently.
The court translated Razik’s post, emphasizing the Muslim community’s perceived ideological battle against racist groups. The state argued that the post could incite hatred and violence, justifying the arrest. However, the defense contended that Razik was exercising his freedom of speech, protected by the constitution.
Ultimately, the court rejected the state’s arguments, ruling that Razik’s fundamental rights were violated. It ordered compensation of LKR one million and sixty thousand, along with costs incurred during the legal proceedings.
The judgment criticized the conduct of the CID’s Chief Inspector, Senaratne, emphasizing that criminal justice measures must be carried out diligently and strictly in accordance with the law. The court held that the CID, being a well-organized department with access to legal advice, should have acted more responsibly.
The court declared that the CID officer infringed Razik’s fundamental rights and held the state responsible for the violation. It ordered compensation payments, including Rs. 30,000 from the officer’s personal funds and Rs. 1 million from the state. Additionally, instructions on respecting fundamental rights were to be disseminated to all police officers.
In conclusion, the court allowed the application, underscoring the need for authorities to refrain from giving case-specific instructions to law enforcement officers. The state was directed to cover the petitioner’s legal costs.