The Cabinet is reported to have endorsed a new Anti-terrorism Bill to deal with the latest threat of terrorism in the wake of the Easter Sunday attacks by terror groups linked to ISIS.
The new Bill has taken into consideration the recommendations made by a Cabinet Committee headed by Foreign Affairs Minister Tilak Marapana and also comprising of Justice Minister Talatha Atukorale and Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka.
Informed sources said the new Bill has given a broad definition to terrorism and covers areas not found in the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) such as the killing of civilians, which is not covered under the PTA is an offence in the new Bill.
The new Bill, modelled on laws in Britain and India to deal with ISIS terrorism, contains provisions for dealing with the use of cyberspace for the operation and coordination of terrorist activities.
“We are now faced with a novel form of terrorism. The use of information technology is common in coordination and propaganda activities of terrorists. The PTA does not have adequate teeth to act against such cyberspace operations,” a Cabinet source said and added that the new Bill has provisions to act against Sri Lankans involved in terrorism outside the country.
“It is not so under the PTA,” he said.
When asked whether the new Bill would overlap with the counter-terrorism bill introduced to replace the PTA, the source said the counter-terrorism bill had been stuck in parliament because of criticism from various quarters.
"The latest bill seeks to deal with the latest terrorist threats triggered by the Easter Sunday attack and can be viewed as a kind of an amendment to the counter-terrorism bill,” he said. (Kelum Bandara)