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Sri Lanka’s proposed counter terror legislation leaked

A confidential draft of Sri Lanka’s proposed anti-terror legislation has been circulated across the internet, days after it had been approved by the Sri Lankan cabinet.
The new legislation, known as the Counter Terrorism Act, has incorporated a broader range of offenses which the government has determined will amount to terrorism. In particular, and highlighted repeatedly throughout the text are “acts” or “words” that challenge Sri Lanka’s sovereignty or unity according to the draft.
Definitions of terrorism by Sri Lanka include “any act… threatening, attacking, changing or adversely affecting the unity, territorial integrity, security or sovereignty of Sri Lanka”. Also classed as an act of terrorism is “illegally or unlawfully compelling the Government of Sri Lanka or the government of any other sovereign nation, to reverse, vary or change a policy decision or to do or abstain from doing any act relating to the defence, national security, territorial integrity, sovereignty of Sri Lanka”. The joining of some Tamil diaspora groups which are still classed as “terrorist organisations” by the Sri Lankan government will also be outlawed.
Meanwhile “words either spoken or intended to be read” that may cause “harm to the unity, territorial integrity or sovereignty of Sri Lanka” will also be classed as a “terrorism related offence,” read the draft legislation.
Once arrested suspects will also be denied access to legal representation for 48 hours or until they have recorded a statement to the Sri Lankan police.
The change in legislation was forced after Sri Lanka co-sponsored a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council last year, which called on the government to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act and replace it with a law "in accordance with contemporary international best practises".
Several concerns have already been expressed about the new draft legislation, with TNA MP MA Sumanthiran warning the new bill “may even be worse than the PTA”. The parliamentarian is part of the Sectoral Oversight Committee set up last year, which will debate the bill.
Read the full text of the leaked draft, here.