Photo Credit Mahesh Shantaram
Hejaaz Hizbullah is a prominent lawyer and member of Sri Lanka’s Muslim minority. He was arrested on April 14, 2020 and has since been detained on trumped-up charges under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). without proper access to his family or legal counsel. No credible evidence of wrongdoing has yet been presented before a court. The day before his arrest, he had joined in a statement opposing the government’s forced cremation policy for COVID-19 victims, a policy which violated Muslim religious practices. He is also known for being a strong advocate on human rights and Constitutional law.
The PTA provides the authorities with broad powers to arbitrarily detain individuals. Hejaaz Hizbullah has been targeted by the government simply for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression. He is a Prisoner of Conscience and must be immediately and unconditionally released. All charges against him must be dropped without delay.