Sri Lanka to continue detaining terror suspects despite lifting emergency laws

[JURIST] Sri Lanka will continue to outlaw the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) [JURIST news archive] and detain terror suspects indefinitely despite lifting emergency laws, officials announced Thursday. The laws restricting civil and political rights for the past 30 years expired on Tuesday after the Parliament [official website] did not renew the policies [AP report]. The emergency laws were established during the nearly 30-year civil war with the Tamil Tigers. President Mahinda Rajapaksa [official website] did approve four terrorism regulations under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, two of which will allow the Parliament to hold rebel suspects. The four terrorism regulations are currently part of Sri Lankan law on a temporary basis, but the government plans to make these policies permanent law.

In August, the Sri Lankan government announced it would lift the emergency laws [JURIST report] that have been in place for 30 years, though Parliament would renew [text] some provisions temporarily. Most clauses of the Public Security Ordinance, which permits suspects to be detained indefinitely and without charge, have already been abolished. Sri Lankan Prime Minister DM Jayaratne [official website] told Parliament that some clauses would remain necessary, even though the civil war ended in 2009. The Sri Lankan emergency laws have been in a state of flux in recent years. Sri Lankan lawmakers voted last year to extend the state of emergency [JURIST report] but reduced some of the toughest provisions.

 

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