Opposition leader writes to President on prisoners’ issue | Daily News

Opposition leader writes to President on prisoners’ issue

Leader of the Opposition and Tamil National Alliance R. Sampanthan has written to President Maithripala Sirisena seeking his urgent intervention to release prisoners who were arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, citing that “the issue was a strong impediment to reconciliation.”

Earlier this week, three prisoners whose cases were being heard at Vavuniya High Court were transferred to Anuradhapura by the Attorney General’s department citing security concerns. The prisoners who objected to the transfer had begun a fast unto death and were subsequently admitted to the Anuradhapura base hospital due to ill health.

Sampanthan in his letter referred to the PTA as ‘draconian and obnoxious,’ emphasizing that the State had accepted domestically and internationally that the law should be repealed and a new law to be enacted in keeping with acceptable domestic and international norms.

The Opposition Leader added that there “was a political dimension to the issue and that it cannot be addressed as a purely legal matter.” He called for the President’s intervention to address the matter politically as it posed an impediment to reconciliation. A hartal is supposed to be in effect throughout the North and East today. The President is due to visit Jaffna on Saturday when the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, Pablo de Greiff will also be there. Greiff is expected to table a final report on his visit to be presented in September 2018 to the UN Human Rights Council.


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