Facebook icon
Twitter icon
e-mail icon

Amnesty International expresses concerns over Sri Lanka’s continued use of draconian anti-terrorism laws

Amnesty international has urged the Sri Lankan government to immediately desist from using the Prevention Against Terrorism Act (PTA) following the arrests of four individuals who were charged in connection with the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings on 18 May 2023.

Mohamed Asfer Mohamed Anas, Mohamed Jusair Abdul Hameed Jabir, Mohamed Azeez Abu Bakr Siddique, and Rawutar Naina Asnar Marrikar were arrested by the Sri Lankan Police for charges under the Penal Code and the PTA in relation to the bombings which killed over 250 people and injured more than 500 others on 21 April 2019. The Police has expressed its intentions to the Fort magistrate, on gathering evidence from at least four more individuals “who we fear may also be subjected to arrests under the PTA”, Amnesty International tweeted.

Sri Lanka: @amnesty is concerned by the Sri Lankan government’s continued use of its draconian anti-terror law, the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) despite repeated assurances to repeal the legislation, while ignoring calls to issue a serious moratorium against its use.

— Amnesty International South Asia, Regional Office (@amnestysasia) May 26, 2023

Reiterating its previous calls for the repeal of the draconian PTA, Amnesty International highlighted the “worrying developments especially in a context where the government is hoping to bring in a new Anti-Terrorism Act”. The new anti-terrorism bill was released in March 2023 and has been criticised by Tamils in the North-East and rights groups for providing the president, police, and military expansive powers to detain people and to restrict their fundamental rights with limited judicial oversight, among other criticisms.

Calling for the immediate release of PTA arrestees, the rights group urged Sri Lanka to conduct its investigations into the 2019 bombings in line with international human rights standards and to charge any internationally recognisable crime using fair trial standards.

See tweet here.

We need your support

Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. Tamil journalists are particularly at threat, with at least 41 media workers known to have been killed by the Sri Lankan state or its paramilitaries during and after the armed conflict.

Despite the risks, our team on the ground remain committed to providing detailed and accurate reporting of developments in the Tamil homeland, across the island and around the world, as well as providing expert analysis and insight from the Tamil point of view

We need your support in keeping our journalism going. Support our work today.

For more ways to donate visit https://donate.tamilguardian.com.