New legislation required to replace outdated Prevention of Terrorism Act – Kiriella

Lakshman Kiriella

Public Enterprise Minister Lakshman Kiriella said yesterday that the Prevention of Terrorism Act introduced in 1979, based on the British model, was outdated and even the United Kingdom had updated its legislation.

The United Kingdom, he pointed out, had amended its counter terrorism laws twice in 2000 and 2001, in order to meet the emerging global challenges.

Kiriella said that Sri Lanka, was also facing extremist threats with international connections and that was why a Counter Terrorism Act had become necessary, even though some politicians like the Podujana Peramuna and Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, who initially agreed to discuss the introduction of new legislation with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, had backtracked out of political expediency.

Premier Wickremesinghe said that under our current laws, a Sri Lankan who commits an offence abroad cannot be tried here and that was why legislation needs to be updated.

There was no need to be frightened of change, when the objective was to strengthen the security of the country from both local and foreign extremist forces, regardless of which community or religion they belonged to, he added.

(Source: The Island – By Zacki Jabbar)