Hijaz Hizbullah and Madrasa School Principal remanded; Allegations are based on a single statement – Lawyer

Attorney-at-Law Hijaz Hizbullah arrested on suspicion of having links with a suicide bomber at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel on April 21, 2019 and on suspicion of aiding and abetting Hizbullah, Mohamed Shakeel was remanded  until March 3, Colombo Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage ordered today.
Attorney-at-Law Hijaz Hizbullah, who was detained by the CID for about 10 months under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, was produced before the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court at around 4.30 pm, on the instructions of the Attorney General yesterday (17). Mohamed Shakeel, a principal who was arrested yesterday on the instructions of the Attorney General, was also produced before court this evening.
Deputy Solicitor General Dileepa Peiris, Deputy Solicitor General Sudharshana de Silva, Senior State Counsel Lakmini Giriyagama, Director of the CID SSP Nishantha de Zoysa, Assistant Superintendent of Police Upul Seneviratne, OIC Kumarisiri appeared on behalf of the complaint.
Attorney Hijaz Hizbullah was represented by Niran Ankital and a group of lawyers, while Attorney-at-Law Darushan appeared for the principal Mohamed Shakeel.
Hizbullah and Shakeel were produced before the court by Deputy Solicitor General Dileep Peiris.
“The first suspect (Hijaz) was arrested and detained by the CID on April 14, 2020 and questioned. After the excerpts were sent to the Attorney General, they were studied and AG gave the relevant instructions. The second suspect was ordered to be arrested on the basis of aiding and abetting the first suspect. 56 students have studied at the Karativu Al Zahira Madrasa School in Puttalam. 26 of them are residents of Colombo. This is an institution that produces Mawlawis.
Save the Pearl has connected the students with this school. Children without their mother or father, or their mother or father imprisoned on drug charges have been sent to this school. The children who are sent through Save the Pearl are taught in a separate class. Extremist ideologies have been taught separately. An statement mentions that firearms training was also given. These things have happened from 2018 to April 2019. This school has been temporarily closed since April 2019.
A student testified that the first suspect came and gave lectures. The statement said that a tall white man who came with the first suspect had told them that he owns a university in Batticaloa and that if they studied well they could go to that university. The statement added that Naufar Moulavi, Saharan, Rilwan, Sarah Jasmine, Mohammad Assam, Mohamed Mubarak, Muwad and Geoffrey often came and gave lectures and Rilwan provided weapons training.
Save the Pearl has provided funds to run this Madrasa school. Save the Pearl has received financial assistance from an organization called Qatar Charity. Qatar Charity is an organization that has been accused of providing financial support to Al Qaeda. Statements have been taken from several members of the board of Save the Pearl organization. Among them is a Senior Superintendent of Police. They have stated that this is an institution started with a noble intention.
The first suspect was initially arrested on suspicion of having links with Insaf and Ilham. On May 12, 2019, the CID questioned him for the first time. He did not say anything about these relationships then. About 58 statements have been recorded from him during his detention. He is presenting under Section 7 (2) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The second suspect is being produced under Section 7 (1) of the Act. There is no possibility of granting bail to the Magistrate Court under this Act and the ICCPR Act. We request that these suspects be remanded.”
Hijaz Hizbullah’s lawyer Niran Ankital –
“Hijaz Hizbujllah has filed a complaint under Section 7 (2) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act. That means his detention order is now over. He is a free man. If a person is to be remanded under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 7 (2), the Magistrate must have a reasonable doubt about the matter and if there is no reasonable doubt, he cannot be remanded (cited a verdicy by Judge Mark Fernando).
It is said that there were 58 students in this school. The allegations are based on a statement made by one of the students. When he was arrested for a different reason. But now another charge has been leveled. The only statement is that Hijaz Hizbullah went to this Madrassa school in August 2018. The CID has previously reported to the court that Hijaz Hizbullah went there on February 28, April 11, October 17, December 2, 2015, May 4, 2016 and January 15, 2019.
Meanwhile, there is no day in August 2018 mentioned in this witness’s testimony. The statement made by the student that Hizbullah went there in August 2018 and the previous reports submitted by the CID are contradictory. The only evidence available is contradictory. This leaves no reasonable doubt about Hijaz Hizbullah. Therefore, he cannot be remanded. Also, if the relevant section of the ICCPR Act is removed, the suspect should be produced under section 115 of the Penal Code.
But he was not produced under that. Therefore, he cannot be remanded under the ICCPR Act. The story has been made by the CID taking statements from a large number of people and taking only part of the statements of a few people they want. Due to this there is no power to remand the suspect. He should be released.”
Following the submissions of both parties, Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage remanded the suspects until March 03 and ordered them to produce a summary of all statements made against Hizbullah.
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