PM promises new laws to prevent terrorism

The Government will propose new laws to facilitate cooperation between different state agencies in preventing terrorism, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

Speaking at an event held in Matara yesterday (21 July) marking the 97th International Cooperative Day, Wickremesinghe said the new laws will allow customs, immigration & emigration and motor-vehicle registration departments to combine their respective strengths and capacities in combatting terror.

“Nearly 200 individuals linked to the Easter Sunday attacks are currently in detention, with investigations ongoing. That was just the first step. We can’t stop there. All these years, we faced LTTE terrorism. This is a different network. Will it end just because one group is eliminated? We can’t look at LTTE terrorism and face ISIS terrorism. We have to think anew,” he said.

Noting that terrorism prevention laws in the UK have been amended 15 times between 2001 and now, the Prime Minister said Sri Lanka too must introduce laws that are subject to amendment as and when needed in its efforts to prevent terror.

“Some say our current laws are sufficient. They’re not enough,” he said.

“Abetting any kind of terrorism has been criminalised in some countries. There are laws to use biometrics. In other countries, there are laws to facilitate the cooperation of customs, immigration and emigration departments and motor vehicle licensing departments in combatting terrorism. We too are bringing in laws to combine them,” he added.

The Government is now in the process of studying and drafting laws, said Wickremesinghe, adding that the intelligence agencies will also be expanded and restructured in order to stop future attacks.

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