Poet Ahnaf Jazeem arrested under PTA acquitted

Wednesday, 13 December 2023 00:15 –      – 282

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Ahnaf Jazeem, a poet and teacher from Silavathurai, Mannar who was arrested and detained by the Terrorism Investigations Division (TID) in May 2020 under the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) was acquitted by the Puttalam High Court yesterday due to a lack of evidence.

The TID had accused 27-year-old Jazeem of including extremist messaging in his book of Tamil poetry “Navarasam” a claim refuted by Tamil scholars and academics alike. Additionally, he was also accused of imparting extremist ideologies to his students.

On 15 December 2021, he was granted bail under stringent conditions. The High Court judge mandated that Jazeem should present three sureties amounting to Rs. 500,000 and report to the TID office in Puttalam on the first and fourth of Sunday every month.

The poet worked as an educator at the School of Excellence, a private international school situated in Puttalam, and resided in a facility owned by “Save the Pearls,” a Muslim charitable organisation dedicated to the education of underprivileged children. The TID had sought to establish a connection between the charity and Islamic extremist propaganda following the Easter Sunday terror attacks, leading to the arrest of one of its board members, Attorney at Law Hejaaz Hizbullah who was also acquitted by the courts.