This guy’s in jail, actual LTTE spokesmen are out on bail
The week after Tissa was given 20 years for writing, two actual card carrying LTTE spokesmen were released on bail. Hence, being LTTE is pardonable, but being charged with meeting them or writing against the government (from a Tamil perspective) is not. Indeed, the current Chief Minister of the Eastern Province and a Cabinet Minister were high-ranking LTTErs, implicated in (among other things) the slaying of hundreds of police officers.
People talk about the court hearing the case and Tissa’s sentence being part of due process, but that fundamentally misunderstands what the Prevention Of Terrorism Act is. That and other Emergency Measures effectively suspend due process at the discretion of ‘the Minister’. It is a temporary measure for times of war or insurrection and it gives extraordinary powers to the executive. Tissa didn’t get 20 years for any particularly heinous crimes, he got 20 because the executive wanted to send a message.
In the same way, George Master and Daya Master (the LTTE spokesmen) are out not because of any particular legal procedures but because the executive cut a deal with them. The institution that’s suffered the most damage in the course of this war has been the judiciary, and their ‘legal’ stamp doesn’t mean so much anymore. We have an executive which is in daily violation of the 13th and 17th amendments and fundamental rights are suspended (under Emergency). We also had a Chief Justice who basically turned the judiciary into a rogue executive branch.
Whatever Tissa’s prosecution is, it’s not justice. A writer gets 20 years for ‘riling up communal tensions’ and supposedly meeting the LTTE while actual LTTErs who actively fought against the government and supported terrorism get off, or rewarded. This is many things, it may even be good Machiavellian politics. It is, however, not justice. It doesn’t even make sense.