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Sri Lanka: Short story writer arrested for 'disrespecting' Buddhism

A man peruses shelves of books at the annual Colombo Book Fair in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 22 September 2009
A man peruses shelves of books at the annual Colombo Book Fair in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 22 September 2009

Ishara S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images

Writer Shaktika Sathkumara was arrested by the police on the pretext that a short story the author published disrespects the Buddhist philosophy. The artist is to be kept under detention until 9 April. The Free Media Movement has expressed its dissatisfaction over this incident.

According to the information available to the Free Media Movement, Shaktika Satkumara was arrested by Polgahawela police on the basis of the International Civil and Political Rights Charter and is to be detained until 9 April. When Sri Lanka signed the said International Civil and Political Rights Charter the promise given to the people of the country and the international community was that freedom of expression will be further strengthened and protected through this charter. But it is clear that this particular charter challenges freedom of expression. When there is an issue with the content of a piece of art, it cannot be judged by a single point of view. However, it is clear that the government has disregarded this when taking the decision.

The Free Media Movement has pointed out in many previous occasions that the government, when deciding on pieces art and literature and the likes of independent thinkers, has repeatedly violated freedom of expression. The Free Media Movement once again appeals to all state officials not to proceed with this kind of arbitrary action.

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