Sri Lanka: Another instance of the abuse and misuse of the legal system highlighted by Azath Salley’s verdict – Free Media Movement07 Dec, 2021
The Free Media Movement recognizes that the acquittal of Azath Salley, arrested and imprisoned until the completion of the judicial process for allegedly making a controversial statement at a media briefing, is an incident that highlights the attempt by the political forces to abuse the legal process.
Azath Salley was arrested and charged in court under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the ICCPR Act. This resulted in him spending almost eight months in jail without bail. Many social activists and artists have been imprisoned in the past with the legal process being similarly manipulated and abused, while the state has paid little or no attention to the social discourse on these gross human rights violations.
Statements made to the Media by the Minister in charge of the Police at the time of Azath Salley’s arrest even had reference to the Easter attacks. A closer look at these incidents shows the shameless inclination of the politicians to abuse the law and the prioress for personal political gain. The Free Media Movement, which sees this as a serious situation that could escalate to a hostile environment and threaten the freedom of expression, emphasizes the need to create an open and broad social discourse in this regard.