Making a clear case for how poorly and arbitrarily the ICCPR Act is being utilized in Sri Lanka; columnist Kusal Perera was on the verge of arrest by last Friday. He was however spared of the horror by the intervention of none other than Sirisena himself the following day.
Local media reported last Friday evening that Organized Crime Division had made a case before the Colombo Magistrate Courts against Perera and the Daily Mirror, to investigate a complaint against an article written by Perera, published on May 17th in the Daily Mirror titled ‘From Islamic terrorism to marauding Sinhala Buddhist violence’. The Police had stated his writings inflame religious rivalry.
Whistleblower tweep M A Ratna revealed the complaint against Perera was lodged by Rtd. Air Vice Marshall A B Sosa, who is currently facing money laundering charges for his direct involvement in the Jaliya Wickramasuriya case where 332,000 USD was embezzled from the Sri Lankan Mission in Washington. Sosa is also closely affiliated with Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Meanwhile, Perera in a tweet late Saturday night announced Sirisena personally reached out to him and assured he would not be arrested and that Acting IGP has been instructed to refer the complaint against Perera to Attorney General Dappula De Livera.
Below is Perera’s tweet: “To all who supports me and opposes the total misuse of the ICCPR Act. Prez @MaithripalaS called me abt 01 hr ago and assured me there will be no arrest and he had instructed Actg. IGP to refer the complaint to AG and have his instructions #lka #SriLanka”
This direct intervention by Sirisena and the actions of the Police reveal the arbitrary misuse of the ICCPR Act as Perera’s ‘release’ was carried out while writer Shakthika Sathkumara is currently in his eleventh week in custody, charged under the ICCPR Act for penning a piece of fiction on abuse of child monks, which isn’t at all a far cry from reality.
Meanwhile, activists queued up to campaign for Perera and are to continue with the actions they planned to raise awareness among the public on the misuse and exploitation of the ICCPR Act.
Dramatist Parakrama Niriella writing to all political parties on also noted that Perera, being charged with ICCPR is not only a violation of his personal freedom of expression but a blow against independent views and dialog within the broader society as well.
However, it is now also learnt that Perera himself wrote the new story that was published in some local websites that warned of his impending arrest and glorified himself as an ardent activist and writer who stood against religious and communal intolerance.
We publish below the news item Perera has written about him: