Rights group decries Sri Lanka's arrest of critic

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Associated Press

Posted on May 3, 2013 at 2:36 AM

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — An international human rights group has decried the arrest of a Sri Lankan Muslim politician who accused the government of sponsoring Buddhist nationalist groups in carrying out a wave of anti-Muslim campaign.

Amnesty International said in a statement Thursday that Azad Sally must be immediately released or charged with an "internationally recognizable criminal offense."

Officials said Sally was arrested because of conduct that could damage ethnic harmony.

Buddhist nationalist groups have carried out campaigns including attacks on Muslims' places of worship and businesses. The groups claim that their ethnic group, which makes up almost 75 percent of the country's 20 million people, is under threat by the 9 percent Muslim minority.

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