Colombo measures to curb terrorism

B. Muralidhar Reddy

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka Government on Wednesday announced tough and "far-reaching" measures to curb terrorism and maintained that they were meant as an "incentive" to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to come to the negotiating table.

The measures in the form of new regulations, Emergency (Prevention and Prohibition of Terrorism and Specified Terrorist Activities) 2006 came amid demands from hardline parties and groups for a ban on the LTTE and abrogation of the Norwegian brokered 2002 Cease-Fire Agreement (CFA).

Campaign for ban

Announcing the details after a special meeting of the Cabinet Sri Lanka Prime Minister, Ratnasiri Wickremanayake along with a dozen of his Ministerial colleagues told a news conference at the Parliament House that the laws were keeping with the Government policy for "peace" and would not come either in the way of CFA or the Norwegian mediation.

Campaign for ban on LTTE gained momentum after a suspected cadre of the Tamil Tigers suicide bomber made an abortive attempt on December 1 on the life of the Defence Secretary, Gothabaya Rajapaksa who is also the younger brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Even as the Government was debating on the response to the demands for proscribing the LTTE, the Norwegian Special Envoy, Jon Hanssen-Bauer was advised not to go ahead with the scheduled visit to the Tamil Tigers administrative headquarters in Kilinochchi on Monday.

A statement by the Government said that the new regulations prohibit any person, group of persons or organisation from engaging in terrorism, any specified terrorist activity, or any activity in furtherance of any act of terrorism or specified terrorist activity.

The prohibitions under the new regulations also extend to any transaction including contributions, providing, donating, selling, buying, hiring, leasing, receiving, making available, funding, distributing or lending materially or otherwise to any person, group, associate or cadre engaged in terrorism or any terrorism related activities.

The implementing of these regulations will come under a Competent Authority appointed by the President. There is provision in the regulations for any person aggrieved by a decision of the Competent Authority to appeal against such decision to a special appeals Tribunal appointed for the purpose.

Contravention of these regulations carries penalties imposed by a High Court, varying from imprisonment from 10 to 20 years, or five to 10 years, depending on the nature of the offence.