Case against Sri Lankan rationalist dismissed

  • post Type / Action Alert
  • Date / 9 February 2021

On 9 February 2021, the case against writer and rationalist, Shakthika Sathkumara, was finally dropped, 22 months after his original arrest.

According to a Tweet from his lawyer, Sanjaya Wilson Jayasekera:

Arrested on 1 April 2019, he was arbitrarily detained for 127 days while police conducted their investigation into allegations that his short-story ‘Ardha’ (meaning ‘Half’) hurt the religious feelings of Buddhists and advocated hatred. He was also suspended from his job, without income to support his family, for eight months. If charged and convicted, he could have faced up to 10 years in prison.

Despite the completion of their investigation on 25 June 2019, Sathkumara was forced to wait for 18 months before the Attorney General released their decision as to whether he would be charged. 

Emma Wadsworth-Jones, Casework & Campaigns Manager

On hearing the news, Humanists at Risk Coordinator, Emma Wadsworth-Jones, stated:

“Humanists International welcomes that Shakthika Sathkumara no longer faces the threat of charges – a threat that has hung over him for almost two years. However, we must remember that Sathkumara should never have faced charges in the first place. We urge the authorities to compensate Sathkumara for the hardship he has suffered over the intervening 22 months since his original detention. Humanists International will continue to monitor and campaign against the State’s use of the de facto blasphemy laws to silence voices in the country.” 

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