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Qatar deportees among 4 arrested for promoting extremism

Sri Lankan Police Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Ajith Rohana said four suspects were arrested by the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) yesterday, on charges of promoting extremism and Wahabism in Sri Lanka.

He said the two suspects arrested from Wellampitiya (31 years old)and Thihariya (32 year old) have been arrested for promoting extremism and Wahabism on social media and also 37 and 38-year-olds from Muttur.

He added that the two men had been employed in Qatar over the last few years and had created a WhatsApp group through which they had circulated various ideologies on extremism and Wahabism to Sri Lankan group members.

They had also circulated photos and videos of ideologies of the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks ringleader Zahran Hashim through the group.

DIG Ajith Rohana said the two suspects were deported on 21st November 2020, after Sri Lankan authorities had informed their Qatari counterparts in this regard.

The Terrorism Investigation Division had conducted further investigations and arrested the two suspects yesterday and will be detained by the TID under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

Investigations have revealed that one suspect has been identified as the source of the video posted on social media on Zahran Hashim taking oaths bearing and Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIS) flag, soon after the Easter Sunday terror attacks.

DIG Ajith Rohana said that the other two suspects from Muttur have been arrested for facilitating the conducting of classes promoting extremism and Wahabism.

They have been identified to have managed a facility in which followers of Zahrana Hashim had conducted classes for students who had completed the GCE Ordinary Level Examinations in 2018.

The two suspects are being transferred to the Terrorism Investigation Department in Colombo for further investigations.

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