Natasha’s statement not hate speech under ICCPR Act: Colombo HC

In an order delivered by Colombo High Court on Wednesday (5) observed that the alleged statement said to have been made by Stand-up comedian Nathasha Edirisooriya does not on the face of it (ex-facie) comes under section 3(1) of ICCPR for advocating national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to hostility or violence.

Colombo High Court Judge Adithya Patabendige while ordering Natasha Edirisooriya to be released on a personal bail of Rs.100,000, observed that remanding this suspect until now under the ICCPR Act is not an appropriate condition. 

The High Court Judge said the aspiration of the legislature of introducing the this act was to enact appropriate legislation to give effect to those civil and political rights referred to in the aforesaid Covenant. 

"The duty of the judiciary is to apply the judicial mind and take necessary action on the charges against a suspect arrested for committing cognizable offence by the investigative officers, instead of remanding a suspect", the judge said.

The High Court Judge further observed that there is no adequat evidence to support that the alleged statement made by the suspect on April 1, 2023 has incited hostility or violence by the target group (audience). (Lakmal Sooriyagoda )

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