Jailed writer is a prisoner of conscience: Amnesty

The Amnesty International urged the government today to release a writer who is under custody over a short story he published on his Facebook wall and faces ten years of jail time as he faces charges under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act.

Shakthika Sathkumara, an award-winning Sri Lankan writer, was arrested on 1 April 2019, for writing a short story and sharing it on his Facebook profile. The fictional story he shared was about life in Buddhist temple, that allegedly hinted at child sexual abuse.

“Detained for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression, Shakthika Sathkumara is a prisoner of conscience and must be immediately and unconditionally released and all charges against him dropped,” the statement issued by the The Amnesty International said.

He faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty as he is charged under Section 3(1) of ICCPR Act and Art. 291(B) of the Penal Code of Sri Lanka, which deals with propagating hatred and incitement of racial or religious violence.

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