The convenor of Inter-University Bhikkhu Federation (IUBF), Ven. Galwewa Siridhamma Thero was granted bail by the Colombo Magistrate’s Court today (Nov. 23).
He was held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) along with the convenor of Inter-University Students’ Federation (IUSF) Wasantha Mudalige for nearly three months.
Mudalige and Siridhamma Thero were among several other protesters who were placed under arrest following a protest march, organized by the IUSF against the incumbent government, at Union Place in Colombo on August 18.
The police initially obtained a 72-hour detention order on three activists including Mudalige and Siridhamma Thero. Later, the Ministry of Defence gave the nod for a request made by the police to further detain the trio for a period of 90 days for interrogations.
On November 17, the Colombo Additional Magistrate ordered to remand Mudalige and Siridhamma Thero, who were detained at the Old Prison in Tangalle, until the Attorney General’s orders are received.
Rights groups including Amnesty International and activists have been making clarion calls for the government to drop the terror charges filed against Mudalige and Siridhamma Thero.
Amnesty International, in a recent statement, called the terror charges levelled against the student leaders “baseless” and urged the authorities to refrain from extending the detention order. The organization stressed that protesters should not be detained under the anti-terror law.
Meanwhile, His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith also hit out at what he called the “abusive” use of the PTA and arresting of social leaders and those who are engaged in peaceful protests.