There is no need to view the Counter Terrorism Bill as a boogey man and it certainly does not contain a relief package for terrorists as some try to claim, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in Parliament yesterday.
He called on all parties to join hands in dealing with this terror threat and if there are any recommendations from the other parties, he called upon them to discuss them with the government. In response to an article published in a newspaper on Tuesday that this could be done by using the existing Penal Code, the Prime Minister said, “I like to remind them that there are ongoing conflictswith competing power centres in Syria, where the USA, Russia, Iran and Turkey have all intervened. We do not want get drawn into such a situation.
Therefore, the defence lawyers can contend 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 of a foreign power in alliance with us and that is a matter that can be questioned in Parliament. But, section 3 of the Counter Terrorism Bill states, intimidating a population can be brought under that.Therefore, all those who have returned from Syria can be brought under the ambit of this bill.”
“Hence, I would like to ask what the relief package is? Having brought KP and providing him all the facilities is a typical relief package, not this. Hence, we need to set aside out political allegiances and join hands to strengthen the legal framework to deal with terrorism,” he said.
(Source: Daily News – By Camelia Nathaniel, Sandasen Marasinghe and Amali Mallawarachchi)