Draft Bill to replace PTA | Daily News

Draft Bill to replace PTA

The government hopes to bring a draft Bill in Parliament early next year to replace the PTA, said Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayaka in Parliament on Tuesday.

He said this in response to the adjournment motion by Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan in Parliament.

“We are doing this not because of international pressure but for the people of this country and to safeguard them from terrorism.

In relation to the new legislation to replace the PTA as per the Counter Terrorism Act, a draft was drawn up and the Cabinet approved it to be brought before the Oversight Committee.

Various people, local and overseas, gave their views. Now the legal draftsman is working on it. But there are still a few areas that require a simpler language. Some may feel it’s adequate and some may not.

However, we want to bring in an Act that will safeguard national security taking into account current threats of terrorism and current international standards.”

The Law and Order Minister said by January 8, 2015, there were 108 detainees in custody under the PTA. Out of whom, 40 have been granted bail, 11 in remand, 27 have been released, 25 have been sent for rehabilitation and four have been passed guilty in their Court hearings. One had died of a heart attack while in custody.

“While the serious cases are being handled by the AG’s office, one issue is that we find that the Defence lawyers are not doing their part as well. Out of these High Court cases, 74 of the remaining detainees are those who have committed grave crimes.

“Out of them, seven are Sinhalese, 63 are Tamil and four are Muslim. With regard to 18 cases that are pending action by the AG, we are working with the AG’s department to expedite action,” added the minister.

Responding to an issue raised by the Opposition Leader on the moving of some of these cases from Vavuniya to Anuradhapura, he said it was done in good faith even though it perhaps was not working out as hoped.

The reason for establishing two Courts, one in Colombo and one in Anuradhapura, was to hear only the PTA.

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