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Sri Lanka: Poet Ahnaf Jazeem detained for 18 months under draconian PTA acquitted

Poet and teacher Ahnaf Jazeem, who was detained for more than one and a half years under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), has been acquitted from the case filed against him.

Ahnaf Jazeem was arrested in May 2020 in connection to allegations of extremism linked to his book ‘Nawarasam’.

He was arrested under the PTA over allegations that he had promoted extremism and violence in children and aided and abetted Muslim extremism through his literary work.

Jazeem was indicted in the Puttalam High Court in November 2020 for allegedly making extremist speeches to students at the School of Excellence he taught.

He was, however, granted bail in December 2021 under strict conditions, after nearly 19 months of detention.

Speaking to the media for the first time since obtaining bail, Jazeem revealed that allegations against him attempted to connect him to the “Save the Pearls” charity organisation.

At the time, he also revealed that through the allegations his accusers allegedly sought to force him to falsely confess to a connection to lawyer and human rights activist Hejaaz Hizbullah, who was similarly taken into custody under the PTA in April 2020. (NewsWire)

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