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Sri Lanka's arrest of Muslim lawyer slammed as ‘illegal and arbitrary’

The family of a prominent Muslim lawyer have denounced his arrest as “illegal and arbitrary,” stating it was acarried out by Sri Lankan authorities “with the intention of stifling dissent” after he was  arrested over the alleged involvement in the Easter Sunday bombings a year ago.

Hejaaz Hizbullah was arrested under Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) on Tuesday, alongside six other people.

“Information has come to light that the lawyer had associated himself with the bombers,” said Sri Lankan police spokesman Jaliya Senaratne. “In addition, it has been reported that he had been involved with the bombers as an office bearer in an organisation. Furthermore, certain affiliations with the planning of the bombing.”

The lawyer’s family has since denounced the arrest as illegal and arbitrary.

“We have been informed that the arrest is based on certain functions attended to by Mr. Hisbullah in his professional capacity as a member of the Bar,” said the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), who added,

“We would be extremely grateful if you could direct the investigating officers to ensure;

a. That the professional rights of Mr. Hisbullah is given due consideration,

b. That the BASL is informed of the reasons and the basis of his arrest.”

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