Country does not have any laws to arrest individuals joining foreign terrorist organizations

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday pledged to enact new counter terrorism laws to combat terrorism.

In a special statement the Prime Minister said that the delay in enacting new counter terrorism laws had become a barrier to arrest the suspects of the Easter Sunday attack.

“Sri Lanka does not have any laws to arrest individuals who join foreign terrorist organizations. The Penal Code in its original form only envisaged the punishment of offenders for offences committed within the territory of Sri Lanka,” the Prime Minister said.

But according to the Counter Terrorism Act of 2018 (CTA), drafted to replace the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) presented to Parliament in 2018, any person illegally influencing any community or the government of Sri Lanka or any other country becoming a threat to the territorial integrity could be considered as a criminal of Sri Lanka.

The Prime Minister urged the relevant committee to take immediate measures to introduce it to Parliament without any delay.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe stressed that the Easter Sunday attack has been carried out by a well organized little known group of extremists who can’t be described as Muslims.

“These extremists had started their criminal activities by killing two Policemen at a Police checkpoint in Vavunathivu, Batticaloa. Then Minister Kabir Hashim’s Coordinating Secretary had been shot by these extremists after damaging several Buddha Statues in the Mawanella area. Investigators have already located a training camp of these extremists in the Wanathawilluwa area. Now we are taking necessary action against these acts,” the Prime Minister said. Appreciating the assistance extended by the Muslim community, the Premier requested the public not to harass them.

As Sri Lankans we will join hands to defeat Jihadi terrorism. He further said that a programme of sharing information is scheduled to be implemented with Interpol. Emergency law has been imposed to ban the relevant terrorist organizations. 

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