Police probe phone records of Sathkumara

By Tharumalee Silva

The Police are investigating the phone records of award-winning novelist Shakthika Sathkumara, who was arrested and remanded recently.

A spokesman at the Police Media Unit told The Sunday Morning that the phone records were being looked into after a court order had been obtained.

Sakthkumara, who was arrested over allegations of inciting religious hatred and violating international human rights laws under Sri Lanka’s International Covenant for Civil and Political rights (ICCPR) Act of 2007 Section 3 (1), was further remanded by court till 24 April.

The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development “Forum Asia” issued a statement pleading the Sri Lankan Government to release Sathkumara on the basis that Sathkumara’s arrest violated international human rights laws and the ICCPR itself.

According to Forum Asia, the ICCPR guarantees freedom of expression. “Religious policing and reprisal against individuals threaten the human rights of writers and others who exercise their right to freedom of expression. Sri Lankan authorities should not go along with such abuse of free speech,” the report stated.

Shakthika Sathkumara was arrested for publishing a short story on his Facebook page which dealt with homosexual relations within the Buddhist clergy in Sri Lanka, infuriating monks and other religious officials who had severely taken offence, following which he was arrested.

Purawesi Balaya Co-convener Gamini Viyangoda previously told The Sunday Morning that the story was merely fictional and centred around an individual who had let go of yellow robes, and then had homosexual relations.