Sri Lanka reinstates Prevention of Terrorism Act
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 06 December 2006, 09:33 GMT]
Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickramanayake, announcing a cabinet decision, Wednesday said the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) would be implemented in full force. The PTA, introduced in 1979 as a temporary measure, and permanently enacted in 1982, was not applied following the February 2002 Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) between the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The cabinet decision, viewed as a major breach of the CFA, gives excessive powers of arrest and detention to the Sri Lankan armed forces.
"The Government decision pushes for strong curbs on terrorist activities, which will involve LTTE activities and all persons who in anyway help them," Mr. Rathnasiri Wickramanayake said, announcing the decision.
Clause 2.12 of the CFA states: "The Parties agree that search operations and arrests under the Prevention of Terrorism Act shall not take place. Arrests shall be conducted under due process of law in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code."
Thousands of Tamil men, women and children were indiscriminately arrested, tortured and detained for indefinite periods under the PTA untill Colombo agreed to temporarily suspend the application of the act under the provisions of the CFA.
Clause 60 of the Emergency Regulations (ER) and Clause 18 of the PTA Act allow the Police to use confessions of the suspects against them.
Sri Lankan armed forces and the Police were heavily criticised by the Amnesty International and Human Rights organisations for having used torture a method for obtaining confessions.
Several Tamil youths were indicted under Section 5 of the PTA on their own confession made to the Police, for "failing to provide information" about the movements of LTTE cadres in their respective areas had been indicted under Section 5 of the PTA, liable for minimum five years imprisonment if found guilty after trial or on pleading guilty.
Sri Lankan cabinet also discussed a possible re-proscription of the LTTE, but decided not to impose a ban on the LTTE at the moment, informed sources in Colombo said.
Proscription of the Liberation Tigers Act was passed in 1998. The LTTE was de-proscribed in September 2002 before the parties engaged in peace talks in Thailand.
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