Lankan Parliament adopts anti-terror financing legislation



Colombo: Sri Lanka's parliament has enacted legislation to curtail financial support for terrorism by approving revision of an anti-terror funding law.

The amending of Suppression of Terrorist Financing Act No 25 of 2005 was a further ratification of UN moves when Sri Lanka became part of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that combats international money laundering and terrorist financing.

Analysts said the amendment yesterday reflected the government's legislative efforts to deter financial support for the LTTE remnants mostly operating from overseas.

Sri Lanka which had committed to the FATF was required to continue addressing remaining issues regarding criminalisation of terrorist financing and also needed to show sufficient progress to implement the FATF action plan.

The revision was approved in parliament without a vote yesterday, parliamentary officials said.

However the government and the opposition clashed over the definition of the word "terrorist" and "act of terrorism".

The opposition registered its protests against the definition of the term "terrorist act" by pointing out that its description could impinge on political freedom.

"If those laws were passed none could engage in active politics and it would not only be applicable to the opposition but also to the government therefore the description should be further amended", opposition legislator Vijitha Herath argued.

Ajith Kumara, another opposition lawmaker said that the words "to compel a government or an international organisation," would deprive citizens of the country from going before international bodies such as the UN and holding demonstrations and hunger strikes to seek redress.

Sri Lanka endured a brutal 26-year-long civil war that claimed thousands of lives. The conflict ended in 2009.

PTI