The Sri Lankan Government yesterday defended its decision to refuse entry visas to a group of international jurists headed by India’s former Chief Justice J. S. Verma saying it was in the best interest of the country.

The three-member delegation from the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) was due to visit the Sri Lanka on Thursday on a seven-day fact finding mission related to the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.

The visas were put on hold simply because the delegation had no official bearing on one hand and there was evidence to suggest that its activities

would be of a harmful nature to the interests of the country, Sri Lankan Immigration and Emigration Chief Chulananda Perera said.
He said the decision was taken for the wellbeing of the country.

Mr. Perera said a close inspection on the activities of the three-member group indicated they had an agenda that was detrimental to the country.

According to other sources, the delegation was planning a ‘rapid response’ mission to report on the impeachment of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake.

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