|Sri Lankan Muslims light candles and offer prayers at the site of an Easter Sunday bombing in Colombo in 2019. (Photo by= Mahesh Shantaram)|
[아시아뉴스통신=레악카나 기자] Apart from looking after her toddler, Maram Khalifa's days consist mostly of trying to find ways to bring her husband home. Hejazz Hizbullah, a prominent Sri Lankan civil rights lawyer, has been in prison for about 20 months, under anti-terrorism charges, Prosecutors accuse him of hate speech and causing communal disharmony. They allege that Mr Hizbullah gave a speech to young Muslim boys inciting them against the Christian community.
Mr Hizbullah, who is from the minority Muslim community, spent more than a year in prison before the charges were levelled in April 2021, and he has remained in prison since. His trial is due to begin later this month. His wife firmly rejects the charges. Mr Hizbullah was first arrested in connection with the devastating 2019 Easter Sunday suicide bombings, carried out by local Islamists. More than 260 people were killed when high-end hotels and churches were targeted.
Initially, he was accused of having links with one of the bombers. His lawyers say the prosecution later dropped those allegations after they pointed out that he had only appeared in two civil cases involving property disputes for the father of the attacker, a well-known spice trader. Amnesty International last year called Mr Hizbullah, a vocal critic of the government, a "prisoner of conscience".