Sri Lanka abusing UN law to make arrests

Bangla Tribune Desk
Published : 13:33, Jun 19, 2019 | Updated : 13:37, Jun 19, 2019

Sri Lanka police (Representational image) )Media activists accused Sri Lankan law and enforcement agencies of using a UN convention on hate speech to crack down on media freedom and the country's Muslim minority, reports Times of India on Monday (Jun 17).

The Free Media Movement rights group said the police Special Task Force (STF) recently arrested a respected journalist for his writing on anti-Muslim riots and Buddhist extremists using the UN-backed law.

"The Free Media Movement strongly condemns the attempts to pursue legal action under the provisions of the ICCPR Act and urges all responsible stakeholders to draw their attention to avoid using the law unfairly," the group said.
Police have also drawn criticism over the detention of a Muslim woman during anti-Muslim riots last month. She was wearing a T-shirt with a print of a ship's steering wheel which police mistook for the Dharma Chakra, a Buddhist symbol.
The woman was held in remand custody for three weeks before a senior police officer intervened to press for her release.
Award-winning author and poet Shakthika Sathkumara has been held since April under the ICCPR act for his work hinting at homosexuality among the Buddhist clergy.
The leftist People's Liberation Front (JVP) party said police have arbitrarily detained several Muslim men and women since the Easter Sunday attacks that killed 258 people.
The suicide bombings on three churches and three hotels were blamed on local Muslim militants.
Anti-Muslim riots after the April 21 bombings left one Muslim man dead and hundreds of Muslim-owned businesses, homes, vehicles and mosques wrecked.