Four including suspect who uploaded Zahran’s pledge-taking video arrested

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Four individuals have been arrested for spreading extremist propaganda and the ideologies of Zahran Hashim through cyberspace, says Police Spokesperson DIG Ajith Rohana.

The suspects were taken into custody on Wednesday (March 31) by the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID).

The TID initially apprehended two persons on Wednesday. One of them was identified as a 31-year-old from Wellampitiya area and the other is a 32-year-old from Thihariya area.

According to the police spokesperson, one of the arrestees is the person, who, shortly after the 2019 Easter Sunday terror attacks, uploaded the video containing footage of Zahran Hashim and several others taking a pledge of allegiance.

He added that the duo had created a WhatsApp group named ‘One Ummah’ while they were working in Qatar several years ago.

Through this group, they had circulated ideologies of Wahhabism to Sri Lankans. They were also engaged in spreading the ideologies of Zahran Hashim, DIG Rohana said.

They had been deported to the island on November 21, 2021 by the Qatar authorities upon being informed by the Sri Lankan counterparts on the ongoing investigations into the two suspects.

In another development, two others were also arrested by the TID in Muttur area in connection with spreading extremist ideologies.

It was revealed that the suspects, aged 37 and 38 years, had facilitated classes for Muslim students who completed the Advance Level Examination back in 2018. According to reports, the classes had been conducted by Zahran Hashim’s followers.

The suspects have been brought to the TID and they will be detained under the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), the police spokesperson added.

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