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Draconian law cripples Sri Lanka's reconciliation hopes Whats this?
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The country's leadership needs to act on commitment to repeal Prevention of Terrorism Act

Draconian law cripples Sri Lanka's reconciliation hopes

A file image of a Sri Lankan police official. The United National Party and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, the two parties that have ruled Sri Lanka since independence, have used the Prevention of Terrorism Act to suppress dissent for decades. (Photo by Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP)

Ruki Fernando, Colombo
Sri Lanka

February 3, 2017

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In March 2014, my colleague, Father Praveen and I were arrested and detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act by the Terrorist Investigation Department, under Sri Lanka's authoritarian government of former president Mahinda Rajapakse.

Three months ago, under the new government whose slogan has been good governance and rule of law, I was briefly detained and interrogated at the airport while traveling to the United Kingdom for meetings related to human rights. More than two years after the new government came to power, the investigation against me and Father Praveen continues and we are still terrorist suspects.

Court orders restricting our freedom of expression, obtained in March 2014 by the state are still in place. Our electronic equipment, confiscated at that same time, has still not been returned. The investigation led to me being publicly discredited as a terrorist supporter. My parents and I will find it difficult to ever recover.

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