Photo Credit Mahesh Shantaram
Hejaaz Hizbullah is a prominent lawyer and member of Sri Lanka’s Muslim minority. On April 14, 2020, he was arrested under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and held without charge or trial for a year, without proper access to his family or legal counsel. 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.
In March 2021, the Attorney General’s department announced that he would be indicted for speech-related offences, despite the government’s own promises to amend the PTA, recognizing that its provisions fall short of international standards on anti-terror legislation. He remains in detention to date without such an indictment being served. We need your help to pressure the Sri Lankan government to release him since no credible evidence of wrongdoing has been produced before a court in the one year the authorities have kept him in detention.