4 February, 2023

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Sri Lanka: Protesters Must Not Be Detained Under The Draconian Anti-Terror Law: Amnesty International

Responding to reports that Wasantha Mudalige, the convener of Inter University Students’ Federation, Galwewa Siridhamma Thero, the convener of Inter University Bhikku Federation, and Hashantha Jawantha Gunathilake, member of the Kelaniya University Students’ Union, who were arrested on 18 and 19 August, are being detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), Yamini Mishra, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director, said: “Using a draconian anti-terror law to crackdown on protesters is a new low for the Sri Lankan government. This weaponizing of an already highly-criticized law, which should be repealed immediately, is a testament to how the authorities are unwilling to withstand any form of criticism and are systematically stifling dissenting voices. This is against Sri Lanka’s international human rights obligations, especially the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”

“Charges of terrorism do not commensurate with any offenses the protesters are alleged to have committed. Such an action by the authorities is excessive, disproportionate and in violation of international law. The PTA allows for detention of suspects for up to a year without charge, which is in violation of international law. The defence minister must not sign an order to detain them further under the PTA.”

“The PTA has a long history of abuse in Sri Lanka, and this development shows precisely why both local and international actors have been calling for its repeal. Time and time again, the Act has been used as a tool to silence government critics, journalists and minorities.”

Background

Sri Lanka’s worsening economic crisis has led to violations of the people’s civil, political, economic and social rights. Over the last few months, the President, Prime Minister, and the cabinet of ministers have had to resign following wide-spread public protests seeking their resignations.

The government responded to largely peaceful protests with excessive and unnecessary force and emergency laws giving sweeping powers to the police and the armed forces, in an effort to curb further demonstrations.

Amnesty International and others have urged the Sri Lankan government to end its crackdown on peaceful protests. Amnesty International has also documented the use of the draconian PTA by the Government of Sri Lanka to target, and harass minorities, activists, journalists and critical voices.

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Latest comments

  • 11
    2

    Has Ranil gone off his head!!!!!!!

    • 3
      5

      Well said, Manel,
      .
      Looks like it!
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe

    • 6
      2

      Manel,
      He is doing what exactly his class interests require, of course with some differences in detail. I do not think that any realistic alternative that was on offer would have been any different.
      It is political naivete to imagine that Aragalaya, as it was, could deliver us from our political ills. (That was the reason the question”What next after Gota goes?” was relevant.)
      We need lessons on what the state is and what it takes to transform a social system.
      Mass protests never achieved regime change, except when stage managed by a big external power as happened in the former Soviet Union.
      *
      Aragalaya has to resurrect itself to face the ‘new reality’.

    • 15
      5

      Ranil was never a decent, straight forward guy. At the very beginning of his political career in 1977, as a junior minister in JR’s cabinet, he assisted his uncle to crackdown on student protests on Kelaniya campus. He directed his underworld pals Gonawila Sunil and Kalu Lucky to send their goons and smash the heads of peacefully demonstrating students. When the Jaffna public library was burned down in 1981 he refused to acknowledge the role played by the government and the UNP. During the 88/89 JVP uprising, Ranil was in charge of Batalande torture camp where young boys and girls on mere suspicion of involvement with the JVP were brought in for special treatment. After promising to support Chandrika’s package to settle the ethnic conflict – the best ever proposal put forward by a Sinhala leader as per many analysts – Ranil literally tore it to pieces in parliament, dashing the hopes of many for a peaceful settlement. His shady role in the Bond Scam and Easter Day Bombing are recent history. But in my opinion, the worst crime he has committed so far is to break his promise to the people in 2015 and protect the Rajapaksas and their criminal cohorts from prosecution.

      • 5
        0

        “When the Jaffna public library was burned down in 1981 he refused to acknowledge the role played by the government and the UNP. “
        Did not is the same as refused to.
        “Ranil was in charge of Batalande torture camp where young boys and girls on mere suspicion of involvement with the JVP were brought in for special treatment.”
        Was he really in charge of any torture camp?
        “After promising to support Chandrika’s package to settle the ethnic conflict –…– Ranil literally tore it to pieces in parliament,”
        Did he? He sat back and watched as Ravi K set fire to a copy.
        *
        Precision of data and attention to detail help.
        *
        I am not sure about the accuracy of other charges. But I have no faith in RW for serious political reasons.

        • 0
          1

          Details? … You want details about Ranil & Batalanda? .

          Excerpted from UTHR(J) Report: Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Conundrum

          “One commission that has been very revealing is the Batalanda Commission. Among its tasks is to probe the disappearance of police sub-Inspector Priyadarshana and several allegations of torture and murder in a camp for which a house in the Fertiliser Corporation housing complex at Batalanda is said to have been used. A reason why this has attracted considerable interest is the occurrence of the name of the UNP leader and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe in this connection. According to the testimony given before the commission so far the following pattern has emerged regarding the events which took place between early 1988 and the end of 1991:

          The housing scheme came under the purview of Ranil Wickremasinghe who was then Minister of Industries. A house in the scheme about 100 yards from the alleged torture camp was used by him and which he is said to have visited about once a week. The torture camp was allegedly run by men from the CSU(Counter Subversive Unit) who were led by Douglas Peiris, who during that period was promoted from IP to ASP, and recently when he was interdicted held the rank of SSP. Douglas Peiris too lived in the housing complex and a house according to a former chairman of the Fertiliser Corporation, was allocated to him(Douglas) in June 1988 on instructions from Ranil Wickremasinghe.
          Contd .

          • 0
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            Part II .

            On 20th February 1990(about the same time that journalist Richard De Soyza disappeared in a separate incident) Sub-Inspector Priyadarshana was summoned through radio by his superior Inspector Attapattu and was driven away in a vehicle after which he was no longer seen alive. According to the testimony of his friends in the Police and his father and brother, he had gone to Biyagama Village Inn where, according to one of them, he is said to have met among others, Ranil Wickremasinghe and Douglas Peiris. The issue is said to have been about Priyadarshana’s non-compliance with instructions on dealing with criminal elements close to the ruling party. After Priyadarshana’s disappearance his friends in the Police, his father and brother are said to have been effectively warned in intimidating terms by Douglas Peiris and DIG Merril Gunaratne that Priyadarshana was linked to the JVP and they should not look for him. Although few would be surprised by what has transpired, it is quite likely that the inquiry would be inconclusive and nothing would be pinned on Ranil Wickremasinghe. Moreover in the prevailing political culture, as an aspiring national leader, Ranil Wickremasinghe would be under little pressure to prove his fitness for the highest office in the country by clearing himself beyond reasonable doubt.”

            https://uthr.org/Rajan/commisions.htm .

            • 2
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              Read carefully what I said and what your extract has to offer.
              *
              I repeat: RW was not in charge of any torture camp as claimed by you..

              • 1
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                They don’t put out a Gazette notification when they set up a torture camp and put you in charge. His actions, proximity, regular visits, and contacts tell the story hidden from the public. It’s like arguing Pottu Amman was not in charge of the LTTE torture camp at Thunukkai because he was not running its day to day operation.

      • 0
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        ajay

        you are spot on that chandrika was the only leader who genuinely wanted to solve the ethnic problem,She was the only decent no communal leader we had.

    • 8
      5

      Ranil was waiting for the opportunity use all these powers including PTA to prove that he is worse than even Gota, Mahinda and JRJ.

      • 5
        0

        Are you sure that RW was “waiting” for anything that happened for him?
        Had he anything to do with events since GR was elected.
        If he waited for anything it was for Sajith P to make as ass of himself, which the latter loyally did, but under circumstances other than waited for.
        Do not give RW undue credit.

    • 4
      2

      “Has Ranil gone off his head”

      Manel,

      To find the answer ……. you should suppress your distaste and watch Salò …….. it shows you what well-dressed, well-read, “cultured,” “moral” human beings are capable of. :))

      Pasolini’s high-art captures Ranil and his ilk’s low human “art” perfectly.

      Hope Ranil’s closet-admirer Native doesn’t reading this.

      Old Codger is cut from the same mould as Ranil. Men who would stop at nothing to get what they want: totally amoral and lacking any moral compass in spite of all the reading and knowledge.

      A long time ago I said I know what people are going to think before they know it themselves. By his own admission, Old Codger knew Ramona is my wife from the get-go ……. why would a man lust after and incessantly pursue and try to seduce another man’s wife if he had any decency let alone morals? ……… “Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh. on a woman to lust after her hath committed. adultery with her already in his heart.” :)))

      Old Codger lusts after a woman that’s not his ……… Ranil lust’s after a presidency that’s not his.

      Birds of a feather flock together.

      So, tell me about human-nature! ………. Pasolini, you beaut ………..

      • 5
        3

        Nimal, with your permission let me add some of my observation. I was going through comments to see how many are in denial and criticizing AI, up to now just one. I find it funny when majority use Muslim pseudo names to make “Shock and Awe” statements”. How credible is Lankan politics ??? Crooks like Vasideva, GLP , Dulles who supported emergency, PTA, suppression of free speech for decades, have overnight transformed into “born again rights activist”. Lanka is”full of unsolved mysteries / BS “, only because there has never been any transparency through out our political history. Isn’t it weird to see articles and discussion taking place, purely based on guess, hypothesis, distorted facts, fake media among many other things. If RW can lead SLPP, work along with Rajapaksas, MR bribing Prabha, what are the chances, rest being true ?? There is absolutely no credibility in Lankan politics. Many facts will die with these crooked politicians without public ever being aware of it.

        • 5
          2

          chiv,

          I just write absolute utter crap ……. cause the country has no hope ……. gone past redemption.

          Everyone is playing games …… Ranil is 75 and is trying to implement 25-year plans!

          He is doing all what he can to redeem his foolish ego and wounded pride. He has lost all the “principles” he might have once had: has lost all sense of shame.

          If you look at what he is doing straight-up with a clear mind …….. the country will be well and truly f***ed up by the time he is through.

          Remember ……. what we are attempting is not to develop the country but just to bring it back to what it was a short 2.5 years ago …… that’ll take another decade.

          Development Lankan style ……… since independence …………

          • 6
            2

            Nimal, you are absolutely right about “Development Lanka style ….. since INdependence…….. As doctors we are aware many above 55 to 65 age group when hospitalized for medical reasons ( even trivial as urine infection, aspiration pneumonia ), may feel better after treatment but never return back to their previous baseline functional level. That is one reason for them to focus on preventive care to keep healthy and thereby avoid hospital stay as much possible. . Our 75 year old Sorry Lanka has gone through many such set backs where baseline functional level, is beyond recovery. There were few occasions where there was hope for potential recovery (ICU care) but country decided to go with their old behaviors. Crook Wijedasa is coming up with the new term for PTA, called “national security act”, thinking he could fool the donors. A dysfunctional, failed bankrupt nation is a terminal state where palliative / nursing home care is our only option.

      • 7
        0

        Nimal,
        “Old Codger lusts after a woman that’s not his …”
        That’s about all I can do—lust. I wouldn’t want to be accused of assault with a blunt weapon.
        Oh, BTW, since you now admit to RTF being your bitter half, my heartfelt condolences.

        • 3
          1

          Some guys have all the luck …….. beyond that ……. my lips are sealed. :))

        • 0
          0

          “I suppose you’re talking about the late Lakshman, right?”

          OC,

          Was his surname Dalpadadu? That’s what I can remember. Later I learned he had died. He had books with lists of all the movies and if you told him what you wanted he had the DVDs made overnight.

          • 0
            0

            Nimal,
            No, he was Croos-Moraes. He ran a similar operation at Thummulla and Park Road, even had a slot on SLBC. Those piratical days are gone now!

  • 4
    2

    Manel Fonseka, Ranil as No.1 unable to find out who burnt his house. There is only one all knowing person but Ranil does not know how to ask, even though his uncle was a bishop. Sad state of affairs.

    • 0
      1

      Sad and wayword but not politically expedient for him so far away.
      Sad not only for Ranil but the entire nation amidst a “famine”
      And who are the citizens of this strange land he befriended?
      Far from paternal comfort and yet to come back to the senses, means to be transformed by the renewal of the mind.
      Didnt his family get him into politics ?

      “Oh what a tangled web we weave When first we first practice to deceive’

    • 1
      0

      If I guess who the “all knowing person” you have in mind, all his knowing did not prevent his nemesis from getting the better of Him all too often.
      He too should take a break.

  • 3
    4

    MF. Ranil never had a head.

    • 2
      0

      h
      When I read all the helpless frantic ranting and raving on these pages, I am tempted to think that, regardless of whether RW ever had a head, a lot of people are losing theirs.

  • 4
    3

    See Rajiva Wijesinha – The March of Folly 36 – Corruption compounded

    https://rajivawijesinha.wordpress.com/2018/06/11/the-march-of-folly-36-corruption-compounded/#more-9710

  • 3
    1

    Ranil is slowly falling into the trap of authoritarian government.
    He must extricate himself from proceeding further. He should strive to extricate Sri Lanka from the impending doom of hunger and lawlessness.
    The former Director of TID is returning who must be isolated from all governance.
    We should commence agriculture and fishing first with advice from our scientists, beginning with vegetables and poultry. Food is the need of the hour.

  • 9
    2

    Now that “134 MPs” have given this country a “President” who doesn’t know to distinguish between a “Terrorist” and a “Protestor”, what more can we expect from such a “Mad Man”?

    In Sri Lanka “134” Bus Route is that ply between Colombo and “Angoda” where all the “Mentally Deraigned” patients are housed and treated. Who allowed this “Mad Man” to escape and board that bus “134” to Diyawannawa – and to be accommodated once again with another “134” “Mentally Disabled” Legislators? No wonder the Protests are being held on a regular basis on the streets and this “Mad Man” sitting at the “Throne” decided those Protestor are “Terrorists”.

    We have got a brand new “KEKILLE KING”.

  • 0
    2

    “Using a draconian anti-terror law to crackdown on protesters is a new low for the Sri Lankan government” Naalaoru Vannamum, Poluthoru Maniyum…….. Every day a new, but better, show on the Sinhala Buddhists’ political arena.

    These boys and girls are not Vijeweeras or Lemon Puffs. So, my guess is that Ranil Evil, at last, has started to feel that the country needs some real politicians for future and he is out to make some of them. Langkang badly needs Gandhi’s Congress to make nation to rise up. 18 to 80, man to woman, poor to rich, fool to smart, uneducated to educated, unions to unemployed……… how many division are there all that many have to get down to road.

  • 2
    2

    Ranil Wickremesinghe sunk his party. Now, he is sinking the country. He is doing what he knows best.
    When he sunk UNP, people were indifferent; when he sinks the country. People will be different!

    • 0
      0

      Correction:
      when he sinks the country people will be different!

    • 1
      0

      N
      Have you wondered why many of the rats that left ship as it sank are rushing back to the sunken ship?

  • 3
    4

    Ms. Yamini Mishra, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.
    Where the hell was Amnesty International when the victims of the IUSF and rowdy student leaders like Wasantha Mudalige were violating the “RIGHTS” of ordinary students and peaceful people were being “VIOLATED”?
    The Convener of the Inter-University Student’s Federation (IUSF) Wasantha Mudalige, belongs to a criminal students movement. This guy is attending University education for more than 6 years, when a degree course is finished in 3 years.

    • 3
      0

      NN
      “…criminal students movement”
      What is criminal? The students involved?
      Has the organization or any of its representatives convicted of any crime.
      *
      “This guy is attending University education for more than 6 years,…”
      He uses certain privileges that union leaders are allowed.
      If at all it is his career that is at stake.
      Why don’t you sit back and look after yours.

      • 0
        0

        SJ, you are absolutely right in confronting this “born again” (overnight) Pseudo rights activist. Noor Nizam, before typing rubbish find out how many years Rajapaksa men attended school to complete 10th grade. By the way, how many years did you take ?

  • 1
    1

    Ranil Experience erodes democracy in Sri Lanka applying old politics revenge with weaponizing
    all have observed such for the last 3 months.

    The world is advising Ranil the 40 years’ experience that the applying old politics using laws that do not conform with international human rights standards PTA is seen as inconsistent with respect for human rights, disproportionate Also he don’t have people vote that’s why he is full support to 134 minister who supported he not following ‘Government of the People, by the People, for the People’

  • 2
    2

    Amnesty International and all other International Organizations including UN must NOW understand that this Government of “Ranil Rajapakse Wickramasinghe and the Law Enforcement limbs who danced to its tunes CANNOT and beyond COMPREHENSION to understand what these Laws are.

    Therefore shouldn’t these International Organizations above mentioned start COMMUNICATING with this Government in a language that could be understood by it? The ONLY language that sends their message would be STRONG actions against this Government, not WRITTEN messages and announcements.

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