Prime Minister speaks about counter-terrorism bill

Prime Minister speaks about counter-terrorism bill

Written by Staff Writer

08 May, 2019 | 8:58 pm

Colombo (News 1st): The Daily Mirror carried a fact check of the statement made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to SkyNews on April 26th.

The Daily Mirror in its publication yesterday (May 7) states that in Section 121 of the Penal Code of Sri Lanka, it clearly states that “Whoever wages war against the Government of any Power in alliance or at peace with the Republic, shall be punished with imprisonment”.

Section 114 also explains that joining an insurrection amounts to waging, aiding or abetting war which in turn should be read with section 121 of the Penal code.

The Daily Mirror says the Prime Minister was clear in his interview that despite knowing about the Sri Lankans who left to Syria, joined the Islamic State and took up arms that it was “not possible” to arrest them under the Sri Lankan law.

Speaking at parliament today, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had this to say;

“I would also like to refer to an article which appeared in the Daily Mirror paper. Honourable Speaker yesterday in the Daily Mirror paper it said that you can do this with the existing penal code. I would like to remind them there is an on going conflict with competing power centres in Syria, the USA, Russia, Turkey and Iran. All have intervened and we also do not want get drawn into such a situation therefore the defence lawyers can be content that there is no central power or authority in Syria and that this provision does not apply to a civil conflict intervened with terrorism. The question is we talk about foreign powers in alliance with us and that is the matter that can be questioned in parliament but section 3 of the counter terrorism bill states intimidating a population now you can bring them under that and section 2-1 makes it operational to apply on anyone who has committed this crime outside Sri Lanka. Intimidating the population of Syria, intimidating the population of Libya; therefore it is clear that all those who return from Syria are within the ambit of the counter terrorism bill. This provision of the penal code was taken from the United Kingdom law waging war against the queen or any friendly power. But although the return from Syria has been taken under the terrorist laws, even those who have returned from Iraq whose central government is backed by them have been taken under the terrorism law and certainly not under the existing old law as per the article which appeared in the Daily Mirror paper.

However, on April 26th speaking to SkyNews Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said they knew they went to Syria and had joined a terrorist organization. However, he said in Sri Lanka to go abroad and return or take part in an armed foreign uprising is not an offence.

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