Sri Lankan judges on strike over stabbing

Sri Lankan Special Task Force (STF) soldiers stand guard outside the Colombo High Court in Colombo in 2011 (AFP/File, Ishara S.Kodikara)Sri Lankan judges went on a strike Monday in an protest over the stabbing of a senior colleague that has heightened tensions between the government and the judiciary.

The Judges Association said all courts were closed one day after four armed men assaulted Manjula Tilakaratne, a High Court judge and head of the independent Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

"We refrained from work as part of our protest against the attack," Pradeep Jayatillake, secretary of the Judges Association, said.

Tilakaratne was recovering in hospital after being stabbed at least three times in a Colombo suburb. His mobile phone was also stolen.

The attack came as the local Sunday Times said the government was locked in a "cold war" with judges over a recent announcement by the JSC that it was being subjected to "threats and intimidation".

The newspaper said the government was at odds with the Supreme Court over decisions that did not favour the ruling party’s legislative programme.

President Mahinda Rajapakse on Sunday instructed police to bring the perpetrators to justice, but no arrests had yet been made.

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