Sri Lanka extends emergency to deal with Tamil Tiger remnants

June 9th, 2009 - 10:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, June 9 (DPA) Sri Lanka’s parliament Tuesday extended the state of emergency in the country to deal with the “remnants” of the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that was defeated in a major military offensive last month, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake said.
The extension of the state of emergency by one month was supported by 102 lawmakers, mostly from the government parties, while seven MPs abstained and some others in the 225-seat parliament were not present at the time of voting.

Wickremanayake said that though the LTTE rebels were crushed there were “remnants” of the movement and that due to legal requirements the state of emergency was necessary.

Sri Lanka has been under a state of emergency almost continuously since 1983. The tough anti-terror rules allow the government to arrest and detain suspects and keep them for indefinite periods without a trial.

The Tamil rebel leadership was killed and the rebels defeated in a nearly three-year military operation which ended May 18, ending almost 26 years of civil war in the country.

Opposition members asked the government not to misuse the state of emergency, which gives wide powers to the government and security forces.

They also warned that the powers should not be misused to stifle media freedom.

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