Andrew Bennett, Canada’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom, today issued the following statement:
“Canada condemns the arrest of Azath Salley, leader of Sri Lanka’s newly formed Muslim Tamil National Alliance. Mr. Salley was reportedly taken into custody by Sri Lankan authorities on May 2.
Andrew Bennett, Canada’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom
“We call for Mr. Salley’s immediate release. We understand his arrest is likely motivated by his work on human rights, in particular his defence of religious freedom, including the right of religious communities to practise their faith in Sri Lanka without fear of reprisals.
“This latest action by the authorities suggests strongly that those who dare to criticize the Government of Sri Lanka can face consequences such as imprisonment.
“Canada will continue to stand by all those who courageously speak out against egregious violations of human rights and freedom of religion.”