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TNPF condemn arrest of former Sri Lankan Minister under the PTA

Photo of former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen

Gajan Ponnambalam, leader of the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF), has condemned the arrest of Rishad Bathiudeen, Sri Lanka’s former Industry Minister and leader of the All Ceylon Makkal Party (ACMC), under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

“The time and manner in which the arrest took place have all the hallmarks of political motivation in a country where d police act as an extension of the party in power”, stated Ponnambalam on Twitter.

The arrest of Rishad Bathiudeen alongside his brother follows an ever-increasing crackdown on Tamils and Muslims by the Sri Lankan state. This follows not only the detention of Jaffna’s Mayor and police threats against the chair of Kilinochchi’s divisional council; but also wide-reach proscriptionS on a number of Tamil and Muslim organisations and charities. Within that proscription, hundreds of individuals were also proscribed, and their personal details were released to the public.

Bathiudeen and his brother were arrested yesterday under allegations that they had connections with the perpetrators of the Easter Sunday attack. Similar allegations have been levied against the prominent Muslim lawyers and human rights defender, Hejaaz Hizbullah, who has been detained for over a year without charge.

On Twitter, Ponnambalam criticised the PTA noting that:

He further added:

In March, the government expanded upon the PTA and provided the security forces sweeping powers under the pretext of “deradicalisation”. The government has further announced plans to crack down on speech on social media which is “destroying the name of the country and defaming individuals”.

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