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  • CBK commends Dr. Shafi’s noble gesture of donating past salary to buy essential medicine
    Falsely accused by racist elements for alleged illegal sterilisation, Kurunegala Teaching Hospital doctor says racism will not take country or organisation forward except make poor people suffer more; calls on all to make Sri Lanka racism-free   Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga has commended Dr. Mohamed Shafi Shihabdeen over his gesture of donating the past salaries amounting to Rs. 2.6 million during his suspension and imprisonment on false charges to buy essential medicines. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga

    Dr. Mohamed Shafi Shihabdeen

  • Dr. Shafi donates arrears of his salary to purchase medicines for hospitals
    Dr. Shihabdeen Mohamed Shafi, the doctor at the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital has decided to donate arrears of his salary amounting over Rs. 2.67 million for the purchase of essential medicines for hospitals.

    Dr. Shafi who was on compulsory leave on charges of performing infertility surgery, has received a cheque of over Rs. 2.67 million salary arrears from the Health Ministry last week.

    The salary arrears include the basic salary, interim allowance, cost of living, and allowance in lieu of pension for the period of compulsory leave imposed on Dr. Sihabdeen.

    Dr. Shafi who was employed at the Kurunegala teaching hospital was arrested on May 25th, 2019, on charges of performing infertility surgery.
    On July 25, 2019, the Kurunegala Magistrate’s Court ordered that the doctor be released on bail.
  • Govt. used Sinhala-Buddhist shield to its maximum benefit Ven. Galkande Dhammananda Thera
    This Govt. nurtured thug-like monks promoted them and deployed them in various  places Certain monks have severe psychological wounds If  society isn’t healed cases of domestic violence, harassment and child  abuse will be on the rise Reconciliation  was about having workshops, providing a report and earning dollars Accountability  has not been included in the Constitution or the Judicial system Terrorism  sprouts in a country that has no justice Ven. Galkande Dhammananda Thera who currently heads the Walpola Rahula Institute for Buddhist Studies has been addressing issues related to social justice and harmony while promoting an inclusive and plural society. Having gathered a wealth of experience during the height of war for instance and having encountered various incidents during his lifetime, Ven. Dhammananda Thera has...
  • Health ministry to pay back-wages for Dr. Shafi before July 10
    The Ministry of Health today gave an undertaking before the Court of Appeal that the salary and allowances payable to Dr. Shafi  Shihabdeen will be paid before July 10 this year. The Ministry of Health gave this undertaking pursuant to a writ petition filed by Dr. Shafi  Shihabdeen, who was at the centre of the controversy surrounding the alleged sterilisation of female patients. The Director General of Establishment at the Ministry of Public Services had earlier informed the Court that the basic salary, interim allowance, cost of living and allowance in lieu of pension could be paid to Dr. Shafi Shihabdeen, for the compulsory leave period. Meanwhile, the petitioner expressed willingness to attend the preliminary inquiry before Director of Kurunegala Teaching Hospital Dr. Chandana Kendangamuwa. Taking into consideration the facts,...
  • Sri Lanka court orders release of lawyer held for two years
    A Sri Lankan court has ordered the release on bail of a lawyer arrested over his alleged links to the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings and held for nearly two years on charges rights groups say lacked credible evidence. Hejaaz Hizbullah was arrested in April 2020 and accused of being linked to the attacks on churches and hotels that left 279 people dead. But after prosecutors failed to provide evidence of his involvement in the attacks, blamed on a local group, he was instead Read More...
  • Hejaaz Hizbullah leaves from remand custody
    Attorney-at-law Hejaaz Hizbullah today left from remand custody after fulfilling his bail conditions before Puttlalam High Court.

    He was incarcerated for 22 months for allegedly committing offences come under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.Last Monday (07), the Court of Appeal ordered to release Hizbullah on bail pursuant to a revision application filed on behalf him.Hizbullah was ordered to be released on a cash bail of Rs.100,000 with two sureties of Rs.500,000 by Puttlalam High Court Judge Kumari Abeyratne. He was further ordered to report to the DIG office of Puttalam Police Division every second and fourth Sunday of every month.An indictment under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act has now been served on Hejaaz Hizbullah. According to the indictment, Hizbullah...
  • හිජාස් ගෙදර යයි

    (නිමන්ති රණසිංහ සහ හිරාන් ප්‍රියංකර ජයසිංහ) ත්‍රස්තවාදය වැළැක්වීමේ පනත සහ සිවිල් හා දේශපාලන අයිතීන් පිළිබද ජාත්‍යන්තර සම්මුති පනත ප්‍රකාරව චෝදනා ලැබ වසර දෙකකට ආසන්න කාලයක් රක්ෂිත බන්ධනාගාර ගත කර සිටි නිතීඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මහතා අභියාචනාධිකරණ නියෝගය ප්‍රකාරව ඇප මත මුදාහැරීමට පුත්තලම මහාධිකරණය අද (09)...
  • Court of Appeal grants bail on Hejaaz Hizbullah
    The Court of Appeal today ordered to release Attorney-at-law Hejaaz Hizbullah on bail after nearly two years in detention and remand custody. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal directed the Puttalam High Court to release Hejaaz Hizbullah on bail with suitable bail conditions. The Court of Appeal two-judge-bench comprising Justice Menaka Wijesundera and Justice Neil Iddawala made this order taking into consideration a revision application filed on behalf of Hejaaz Hizbullah. The Attorney General did not raise objections to release Hizbullah on bail. On January 28, an application made by the defence requesting to release Attorney-at-law Hejaaz Hizbullah on bail was rejected by Puttalam High Court.   The High Court Judge Kumari Abeyrathne refused to grant bail citing that she has no jurisdiction to grant bail under the Prevention of Terrorism...
  • Attorney at law Hejaaz Hizbullah granted bail
    Attorney-at-law Hejaaz Hizbullah has been granted bail by the Court of Appeal after being detained for over 20 months. Hizbullah was released on bail today after the Puttalam High Court judge refused to grant bail to him last month. Refusing bail, she claimed that it was not under her jurisdiction, despite the Attorney General having consented to grant bail. The judge further informed the defense to request bail from the Court of Appeal on the 9th of February 2022. The bail application had been filed at the Puttalam High Court after Hizbullah’s lawyer had agreed to a settlement with the other parties in the interest of his client. On 20th January, the Attorney General’s (AG) Department said it has no objections to releasing Hizbullah on bail subject to conditions. The AG’s Department informed the Court of Appeal that the bail...
  • සී.අයි.ඩියෙ හිටිය දවස් 46ම නිදාගත්තෙ ප්ලාස්ටික් බෝතලේ ඔලුවට තියාගෙනයි - දොස්තර ශාෆි කියන කතාව
    “හිර කුටියේදී එයාල මට ලීටර් එක හමාරෙ ප්ලාස්ටික් බීම බෝතලයක් තියාගන්න ඉඩ දුන්නා. කාටවත් කොට්ට දුන්නෙ නෑ. ඒත් බිම ඔලුව තියාගෙන ඉන්නකොට මට නින්ද යන්නෙ නෑ. බෝතලේ වතුරෙන් පුරවල ටිකක් වතුර ඉවත් කළාම ඒක ටිකක් නම්‍ය වෙනවා. මම සී.අයි.ඩියෙ හිටිය දවස් 46ම නිදාගත්තෙ ප්ලාස්ටික් බෝතලේ ඔලුවට තියාගෙනයි. මම ඒකට හුරු වුණා.” ශාෆි සහාබ්දීන් එම...
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Justice for Hejaaz


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Frequently Asked Questions on Hejaaz Hizbullah
Who is Hejaaz?
Hejaaz Hizbullah is a prominent young lawyer and activist. After a stellar career at S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia and the Sri Lanka Law College—where he excelled in debating, moot court and represented Sri Lanka’s senior men’s waterpolo team—Hejaaz took oaths as a lawyer and joined the Attorney General’s Department.
Since leaving the Department, he gained prominence as a bold and effective lawyer, taking on controversial commercial and constitutional cases.
Besides his regular work, he also appeared pro bono in a number of cases involving minority rights and constitutional law, the most notable of which was his appearance for an Election Commissioner in the ‘Constitutional Coup’ case in October 2018.
Hejaaz was also involved in activism related to peace and reconciliation. He worked within the Muslim community, raising awareness regarding anti-Muslim hate and documenting hate incidents with a view to pursuing justice in the court system. He also pointedly critiqued extremism within sections of the Muslim community, and worked with organizations in which he was involved to further inter-communal harmony.
He is now a remand prisoner in the Welikada Magazine Prison because of his work and activism. He has been named an Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience.
What are the allegations/charges against Hejaaz?
The allegations against Hejaaz have been changing from time to time.
Immediately after his arrest, there was a targeted media campaign designed to portray Hejaaz as someone involved in the Cinnamon Grand Easter suicide attacks on the basis of 14 phone calls over several years between the bomber Inshaf Ibrahim—the son of Sri Lanka’s largest spice trader and Hejaaz. However, when it was pointed that Hejaaz had since 2015 handled two land cases in the District Court for the Ibrahim family—after the cases which were filed in 2010 were handed over to him by a prominent lawyer and politician—these allegations were sidelined.
Thereafter a fresh allegation was made in the media and by the CID that Hejaaz was the mastermind of the Easter attacks. This too was sidelined before long.
Thereafter, the CID alleged that Hejaaz had received funds from a terrorist organization called “Qatar Charity”.
Curiously, Qatar Charity continues to function in Sri Lanka to date and collaborates with the current government on a number of charity measures.
The last allegation made was that Hejaaz was involved in the indoctrination of certain poor children with little to no formal education from Colombo who were boarded and educated at an Arabic College (Madrasa) in Puttalam. The children were sponsored by “Save the Pearls”, an educational charity in which Hejaaz was a member.
Hejaaz was finally indicted in mid-2021 and the charges in the indictment are that Hejaaz told these children that Catholics are attacking Muslims in Israel-Palestine, and it is only if Catholics are attacked in Sri Lanka that they would cease attacking Muslims in Israel-Palestine. The offences referred to in the indictment are versions of hate-speech prohibitions in the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the ICCPR Act.
It remains to be seen if and when any old allegations against Hejaaz would be resurfaced, or if any new ones would be concocted in the event the charges in the indictment fail.
Are the allegations/charges credible ?
The charges are baseless and false.
There is no substance in the allegation that Hejaaz aided and abetted Inshaf Ibrahim. He only had 14 calls with the Cinnamon Grand terrorist bomber over 5 years, explained by the fact that Inshaf was the contact point for the two civil land cases in which Hejaaz appeared. There is no other evidence implicating Hejaaz in the Easter Sunday attack. In fact, Hejaaz has maintained that the phone calls were primarily for the purpose of following up requests that fees be paid on time.
The allegation regarding terrorist financing and Qatar Charity is also spurious. There is no evidence that Hejaaz received any funds from Qatar Charity.
This aside, Qatar Charity continues to operate at its offices in Colombo, and has collaborated with the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry on many relief activities including Covid-19 relief. Qatar Charity is effectively the charitable extension of the Qatari government. The Chairman of its Board is HE Sheikh Hamad bin Nasser Al Thani, a senior member of the Qatari Royal family.
The allegations regarding hate speech are even more spurious. For one, Hejaaz was never in the vicinity of the Madrasa when he was alleged to have made the speech. Moreover, the single child upon whose evidence the indictment was purportedly based has made several contradictory statements regarding Hejaaz’s involvement.
In one statement, he identifies Hejaaz as a Hizbullah who stated that he owned a university in Batticaloa – a clear allusion to former Minister Hisbullah who owned such a university. Further, several similarly circumstanced children have petitioned the Supreme Court that they were taken to the CID premises and threatened to falsely implicate Mr. Hizbullah.
Two teachers at the same school have also complained that they were similarly threatened.
How long has he been held in detention?
Hejaaz has been held in custody since 14th April 2020. He has now been in custody for more than 500 days. He has only been permitted to meet his wife and lawyers a handful of times. The Prevention of Terrorism Act prevents bail for suspects until the end of the trial, unless the Attorney General consents to bail. The Attorney General has hitherto not consented to bail.
Why is Hejaaz being targeted?
While Hejaaz’s family and friends cannot be sure exactly why Hejaaz was singled out for persecution, several matters are relevant.
First, Hejaaz was a brave and powerful voice on minority rights and the treatment of Muslims in Sri Lanka. He was unafraid and uncompromised. Such was his involvement that he was involved in almost every court case involving Muslim minority rights or anti-Muslim hate.
Second, Hejaaz was one of the first to publicly speak of the Easter Attack being a conspiracy. In fact, in his first few tweets immediately after the attack he questioned as to why the authorities turned a blind eye to the terrorists despite several complaints to the authorities and law enforcement from those within the Muslim community about the extremism and violence of those involved in the Easter attacks.
Third, Hejaaz was incisive in analyzing the drivers and sources of anti-Muslim violence and hatred. He believed that anti-Muslim violence and sentiment was deliberately created and driven by politically motivated actors, and did not believe that they emerged due to organic factors. He shared his analysis publicly on several occasions.
Fourth, Hejaaz was rapidly gaining prominence as a lawyer and was growing in stature as a public figure. Hejaaz’s family and friends assume Hejaaz’s work and activism made him powerful enemies.

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