The Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security has assured that certain concerns the TNA has with the Counter Terrorism Act will be fully addressed, TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran said.
“There were few concerns regarding the new Counter Terrorism Act, but we were assured that they have been corrected. Our concerns were to do with terms of detention, confessions used as evidence and on access to legal assistance from the time of arrest,” MP Sumanthiran explained. However, there is still another important matter that remains which is to do with the definition of terrorism.
“The original draft of the CTA has a definition that runs into some six pages. We suggested an alternative formulation based on certain drafts available in the international treaties. I hope that change will also be introduced,” Sumanthiran said.
Meanwhile, speaking on the amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure on granting legal assistance to suspects at the time of arrest, Sumanthiran said they are not satisfied with the amendment.
Earlier, the draft law of the amendment said that a suspect can have legal assistance just after the recording of the first statement.
“The Oversight Committee protested against this draft law. Now a replacing amendment has been gazzetted which says a suspect can have access to a lawyer from the time of arrest unless it will interfere with the ongoing investigations,” Sumanthiran said.
“We will oppose this amendment as well. Who would have the authority to decide if or if not giving an opportunity to seek legal assistance may or may not interfere with the investigations?” Sumanthiran questioned. He said the new amendment is not in keeping with what was assured on the matter.
Legal assistance has to be given at the time of arrest without any qualifications. The police cannot decide whether providing legal assistance at the time of arrest, will or will not interfere with the ongoing investigations,” Sumanthiran added. (Daily News)