No amnesty for fasting Lankan Tamil prisoners: Govt

COLOMBO (TIP): There will be no common amnesty for over 200 prisoners, mostly Tamils, who staged a hunger strike in jails throughout the country, the Sri Lankan government said on Oct 26.

The prisoners went on a six-day protest hunger strike demanding swift procedural action including a common amnesty.

“There was a meeting held on Monday with the patronage of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. A few decisions were taken. The Prime Minister said it was not possible to grant a common amnesty,” said Minister of National Dialogue Mano Ganesan.

“But the bail procedure could be expedited. Those who are having their cases and those under police action could be granted bail. The officials have been advised to look at this process,” Ganesan said.

The Tamil prisoners claim that they have been held for a long time with no charges being made against them.

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The protesting inmates ended the strike following an assurance from President Maithripala Sirisena that action would be in place to grant them redress by November 7.

Sri Lanka has put through the legal process over 8,000 members of the LTTE who had surrendered to government troops during the last stages of the civil war that ended in May, 2009.

Those in prisons are those who had been arrested for suspected links with the LTTE. The legal procedures related to them have been delayed due to the large backlog of cases.

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