Prevention of Terrorism Act (Sri Lanka)

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The Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1978 is a law in Sri Lanka. It provides the police with broad powers to search, arrest, and detain suspects. It was first enacted as a temporary law in 1979 under J. R. Jayewardene presidency, then made permanent in 1982.[1]

Elements of the Act[edit]

Under the PTA of Sri Lanka, a person can be detained for periods up to 18 months (renewable by order every three months) if the Minister has reason to believe or suspect that any person is connected with or concerned in any unlawful activity. Unlawful activity includes even pasting posters on walls, and is punishable with death.[2]

Offences not known to ordinary laws of the country were also introduced. For example, if a person knows the whereabouts of terrorist (“terrorist” not defined in the Act) and if such person fails to inform the police, he commits an offence punishable with a minimum 5-year jail term. If the terrorist stays with any person for a night such person is guilty of harbouring, punishable with a maximum of twenty years' jail.[3]


  1. ^ Sanjana Hattotuwa (20089). "Terrorised Media". Index on Censorship. 38: 40–44. doi:10.1080/03064220802712183. S2CID 220981961. {{cite journal}}: Check date values in: |year= (help)
  2. ^ "An Eyewitness Account of the Welikade Prison Massacre". Ilankai Sangam. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  3. ^ "State Oppression". Eelam. Archived from the original on 31 December 2010. Retrieved 19 July 2014.