Tamil prisoners taken to court reremanded

The prisoners had earlier staged a fast onto death but they suspended it after the President gave an assurance he will address their issue by November 7. Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran was with the inmates when the assurance was conveyed. Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran told Parliament today that there are over 200 political prisoners in the country. Meanwhile some of the prisoners were brought to the Colombo Magistrates Court today hand-cuffed and linked to each other using a chain.While leaving court some of them said that they were offered rehabilitation but only two of them accepted the offer while the others refused and sought their release.Those who rejected the offer to undergo rehabilitation said that President Maithripala Sirisena, the Prisons Commissioner and parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran will need to take responsibility if any harm comes to their lives. Sumanthiran said that President Maithripala Sirisena had given the prisoners an assurance that they will be released by November 7.However the MP said that as of today there was no progress to be seen and the Government must act fast. A group of Tamil detainees were presented to Court today and most of them were re-remanded after they refused to accept an offer to undergo rehabilitation.The detainees, who call themselves “political prisoners” but are not recognized as such by the Government, said that the court, Government and Tamil National Alliance will be held responsible for their lives if they are not freed unconditionally. He said that while the Government does not recognize these people as political prisoners, most of them are political prisoners. Sumanthiran told Parliament today that the President had assured that apart from those facing heinous crimes, the other Tamil political prisoners will be released by November 7.The Tamil political prisoners have been in jail for several years and most of them have not been charged or have been accused of minor offences under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. (Colombo Gazette)

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