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Foreign Minister Peiris briefs the diplomatic community of the Govt’s effort to amend PTA ensuring international norms

Foreign Minister Peiris briefs the diplomatic community

Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris has briefed the Diplomatic Corps that the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) was being amended with the objective of bringing it in line with international norms and best practices.

He was addressing the Diplomatic Corps at the Foreign Ministry Auditorium on Wednesday, January 26.

He stated that the Cabinet approval has been obtained to Gazette the Bill containing the proposed amendments and thereafter to table the Bill in Parliament for final approval. Substantive amendments to the PTA include amendments to the sections on detention orders, restriction orders, expressly recognizing judicial review of orders, expeditious disposal of cases of those charged to avoid long term detention, repealing sections impinging on freedom of expression and introduction of provisions on access by magistrates and Judicial Medical Officers, prevention of maltreatment and torture during the detention period, right to communicate with the family, granting of bail to long term detainees and day to day hearing of cases.

He also referred to the establishment of an Advisory Board under Section 13 of the PTA to advise the Minister of Defence on long term detainees. Any person who has been issued a Detention Order or a Restriction Order under the PTA is provided an opportunity to request a Review of the Order. In addition, Presidential Pardons were granted to 16 LTTE cadres serving sentences under the PTA in June 2021 and a legal and administrative process has been set in motion to release detainees who have been in judicial custody for extended periods under charges relating to the PTA. Accordingly, 13 more persons were discharged as of January13, 2022.

He also referred to recent developments relating to Hejaaz Hizbullah noting that a case has been filed by the Attorney General under the PTA. The Attorney General has informed the Court of Appeal that he will not object to bail being granted to the accused.
With regard to the Presidential Task Force on Archaeological Heritage Management, the Minister informed that representatives of the Tamil and Muslim communities had been included.

Resident Coordinator of the United Nations Hanaa Singer-Hamdy appreciated the work done by the relevant national institutions in the areas of transitional justice, achievement of the SDG’s and amendments to the PTA.

Foreign Minister Peiris briefs the diplomatic community

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