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Prisons Dept fails to respond to RTI request

The Prisons Department has failed to respond to a request under the Right to Information Act seeking information about inmates held in remand prisons.

The anti-corruption nonprofit Transparency International Sri Lanka said it was looking for confirmation from the department of unofficial reports that large numbers of people were being continuously detained in remand prisons for failing to pay bail or being refused bail.

They filed an RTI request with the prison department’s information officer on July 13.

But a spokesman for the organisation said they have heard nothing from the agency since. That is longer than the 14-day window required by law.

In response, Nadim Majeed, an advocacy consultant with Transparency International, said his organisation filed an appeal with the department on Friday.

“We’re looking for their answer,” he said. “This is a significant story, with implications on the whole prison system.”

If the department continues not to respond to the request, its officers could face judicial proceedings in front of the country’s RTI Commission.