A report for the Bar Human Rights Committee has called for Sri Lanka to be suspended from the Commonwealth over the impeachment of the country’s chief justice.
Barrister and report author Geoffrey Robertson QC said Dr Shirani Bandaranayake (pictured), Sri Lanka’s first woman judge and chief justice, was innocent of the misconduct charges which brought about her removal from office last month.
It concluded that she was forced out because of her ‘careful and correct’ ruling in a case against the government.
The report said that the charges against Bandaranayake were not based on evidence and that some of the allegations could not amount to ‘misconduct’.
The most basic rights of a defendant were denied by a ‘star chamber’ of seven government ministers who put her on a secret trial, the report said.
The report calls on the UK to refuse entry visas and freeze the British bank accounts of the seven Sri Lankan ministers who convicted Bandaranayake, and 117 MPs who signed a ‘false and fabricated’ impeachment motion.
It wants Sri Lanka suspended from the Commonwealth, and urges the Queen not to attend the November Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Colombo.
Robertson concluded: ‘Sri Lankan political leaders treated the head of their judiciary as if she were public enemy number one, abusing the democratic process to put her through an unfair trial as punishment for doing her constitutional duty and then celebrating her unjust removal with feasting and fireworks.’
The Sri Lankan High Commission in London did not respond to a request for comment by press time.