Avant Garde case: SC to hear FR petition on Feb 2
Ukrainian alleges being victim of ‘political tug o’ war in Sri Lanka’

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Supreme Court will take up a fundamental rights application filed by Ukrainian Gennadiy Gavrylov, Captain of ‘MV Avant Garde’ against his arrest in early Oct. 2015 outside Sri Lankan territorial waters and continued detention since then at the Galle remand prison, on Feb 3.

Hearing has to be put off as notices hadn’t been received by all parties to the case.

Reiterating that he had absolutely no political affiliations to any group or party in Sri Lanka, the 49-year, father of one, Gavrylov, in his petition alleged that he was unfortunate to be embroiled in a political tug o’ war prevailing in the country.

A three-judge bench comprising justice Buwaneka Aluvihare, Upali Abeyratne and Nalin Perera will hear the unprecedented case, in which foreigner had moved the Supreme Court against infringement of his rights.

The respondents are Officer-in-Charge of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Director CID, DIG in charge of the CID and Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Limited (RALL), a government-owned business undertaking affiliated to the Defence Ministry, Avant Garde Maritime Services (AGMS), Sri Lanka Shipping Company Limited, Lanka Maritime Services Limited, Secretary Ministry of Defence and the Attorney General.

Manohara de Silva, PC with Arinda Wijesurendra appeared for petitioner Gavrylov, whereas Romesh de Silva, PC and Kuvera de Zoysa, PC, represented the Avant Garde Maritime Services (AGMS) and Sri Lanka Shipping Company Limited.

The Attorney General has appeared for the police.

The petitioner explained the circumstances under which MV Avant Garde chartered by AGMS belonging to Sri Lanka Shipping Company had been seized in international waters in early Oct 2015 in the wake of the change of government.

Gavrylov has sought compensation to the tune of Rs 500 mn from 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 9th respondents and the State. The Ukrainian has also appealed for further relief and punitive measures against those deemed to have violated his rights.

Since the release of MV Avant Garde late last year, it had been sold for scrap.

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