Lanka rights probe panel advises against repealing anti-terror law

·2-min read

Colombo, Jul 21 (PTI) A high level panel appointed by Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to probe the findings of the previous human rights probes has advised him against the repealing of the tough Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

Rajapaksa appointed the panel headed by a judge of the highest court early this year to report on the findings of the previous panels which looked at human rights violations in the island nation.

“The commission which is not in agreement with the calls to repeal the PTA highlights in the interim report that the PTA should be reformed in line with the laws against the prevention of terrorism in other countries including the UK,” a statement from the Sri Lankan President's office said.

The panel in the interim report has also recommended that cases of those held under the PTA be expedited, file indictments against them and to confine the detainees to their own homes or the residential area under special security instead of imprisoning them.

The panel had also recommended that a special advisory board be appointed representing all ethnic groups to advise the president on the PTA.

The recommendations came as the European Union through an EU parliamentary motion in early June called for the repealing of the PTA to be replaced with modern counter terrorism legislation.

The EU linked among other conditions the PTA to the sustenance of EU’s GSP+ trade concessions for Sri Lankan exports The Tamil minority and international rights groups have long held against the Sri Lankan PTA calling it draconian.

The Tamil groups say people have been held under PTA for decades without being charged in court.

Sri Lanka had witnessed a brutal three decade-long civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

According to the government figures, around 20,000 people are missing due to various conflicts including the civil war with Lankan Tamils in the north and east which claimed at least 100,000 lives.

The LTTE, which led the separatist war for a separate Tamil homeland, was finally crushed by the Sri Lankan military in 2009 with the death its supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran. PTI CORR RUP AKJ RUP RUP

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