Sri Lanka: Anuruddha Ratwatte and Others v. The Attorney General, SC APPEALS NOS. 2/2003 TO 16/2003, 2003

Fourteen defendants were awaiting trial and all but one had been released on bail. The respective court had ordered them all to be remanded back into custody on the sole ground that the trial was being held on four days of the week. The defendants appealed this remand, arguing that it was an arbitrary refusal of bail in violation of the Sri Lankan constitution. However, the court rejected their appeal, saying that the remand was an “interim order” against which there was no right of appeal. The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka held that the defendants had been denied bail arbitrarily. In so holding, the Court cited Article 9 of the UDHR and also Article 9 of the ICCPR when it said that “[t]he right to liberty and security of person is a basic tenet of our public law and is universally recognized as a human right guaranteed to every person”. The Court held that granting bail was the rule, not the exception, and that a court could only refuse bail for certain reasons laid out in Sri Lankan law. The Court then quashed the previous order refusing the defendants bail.

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