2013-05-03 17:07:02

Rights group decries Sri Lanka's arrest of critic

03 May, 2013 - An international human rights group has denounced the arrest of a Sri Lankan Muslim politician who accused the government of sponsoring Buddhist nationalist groups in carrying out a series of anti-Muslim campaigns. Amnesty International said in a statement issued Thursday that Azad Sally should be released or charged with a crime. Officials said Sally was arrested because of conduct that could damage ethnic harmony. “Azad Sally's arrest, and the harassment he has faced over the past weeks, is indicative of the climate of fear government critics in Sri Lanka are forced to live under. He must be released immediately or charged with an internationally recognizable criminal offence,” said Polly Truscott, the group's deputy Asia-Pacific director. Truscott said Sally was the latest victim in a crackdown on dissenting views in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka's government has been accused of persecuting dissenting journalists, rights activists, politicians and officials in its effort to tighten its grip on power. Buddhist nationalist groups in recent have carried out campaigns including attacks on Muslims' places of worship and businesses. The groups say that their ethnic group, which makes up almost 75 percent of the country's 20 million people, is under threat by the 9 percent Muslim minority. (Source: AP)

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