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Friday July 30th, 2021
Environment

Sri Lanka police arrest govt official over alleged fake news on deforestation

Sinharaja forest/Rainforest Protectors Trust

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has arrested an Assistant Land Settlement Commissioner in Kotmale for various Facebook posts on deforestation that police claimed were fake news.

Police spokesman Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Ajith Rohana said in a statement on May 22 that the computer crimes unit of the CID has analysed the 42-year-old public servant’s Facebook page and found “various fake news” posts pertaining to deforestation, which Rohana said was an offence as per Section 120 of the Penal Code.

Section 120 reads: “Whoever by words, either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs, or by visible representations, or otherwise, excites or attempts to excite feelings of disaffection to the State, or excites or attempts to excite hatred to or contempt of the administration of justice, or excites or attempts to excite the People of Sri Lanka to procure, otherwise than by lawful means, the alteration of any matter by law established, or attempts to raise discontent or disaffection amongst the People of Sri Lanka, or to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different classes of such People, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years.”

The Gelioya resident will be produced in the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Colombo today (22), Rohana said.

Sri Lakna’s opposition parties alleged mass deforestation in Sri Lanka in recent months.

Related: JVP protests deforestation in Sri Lanka
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In October last year, the Free Media Movement claimed that two journalists who had been covering illegal deforestation were assaulted by loggers.

Related: FMM demands action after two more journalists probing deforestation are assaulted

(Colombo/May22/2021)

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