The controversial draft Counter-Terrorism Bill (CTA) proposes the death penalty for the offence of terrorism in the event an act of terrorism caused any deaths, Leader of the House and the Minister of Public Enterprise Lakshman Kiriella said yesterday (13).
Addressing the media, Kiriella said the CTA proposes timely and stringent laws to tackle global terrorism unlike its predecessor the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).
The existing PTA, he said, does not have provisions to impose the death penalty for a terrorist and that the Government had initially proposed life imprisonment for an act of terrorism if it caused the death of other persons. This clause would be amended in the third reading to impose the death penalty for such an offence as per the Supreme Court ruling, he added.
The Minister further said the new legislation empowers the Army to arrest persons in search operations and hand them over to the Police.
“The PTA does not have this provision. The new legislation also enables to implement the law against any suspect, involved in an act of terrorism elsewhere in the world, if he is residing in Sri Lanka. Not being a citizen of this country is not a hindrance to implementing the law against such a person as per the new bill,” he said.
Kiriella went on to say that the PTA which was based on the 1974 UK legislation is 40 years old and it has been revised on 10 occasions. The the intention of bringing this bill, he said, is to impose stringent laws against terrorism. The Minister dismissed allegations that the Act will stifle the media and trade union actions as baseless.
Appointing a Parliamentary Select Committee to review the CTA upon the request of the opposition leader would delay the Bill for at least another three months, said Kiriella.
The president’s proclamation of extending the State of Emergency, he further said, which was initially gazetted for a month, is expected next week.