[ The fishermen — P Emerson, 40, P Agustus, 32, R Wilson, 42, K Prasad, 30, and J Langlet, 22 — were arrested on November 28, 2011 on charges of smuggling heroin from India.]
A member of the international advisory panel of experts, appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, to probe alleged war crimes committed by the Sri Lanka Forces and the LTTE and the missing persons, has told Ceylon Today that the President should not be ‘selective’ in releasing the five convicted fishermen while leaving out the three Sri Lankan fishermen, who were sentenced to death on the same day and charges, due to pressure applied by the Indian Government.
Padma Shri Kaushal, a renowned human rights activist, has old Ceylon Today, just to maintain the good relationship with India and being under pressure, President Rajapaksa should not be selective in this manner.
“Releasing and pardoning the fishermen is a welcome step by the President but he should release and pardon the Sri Lankans also. All these eight people were given capital punishment by the High Court for the same crime on the same day,” he had said.
“It is unfortunate that the Sri Lankan convicts have not been pardoned and released and it is discrimination.”