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Sampanthan Slams Sri Lankan Govt Over Continuing Detentions; Govt Says PTA will be Repealed

( Protest in Jaffna; Image Tamil Guardian)

T. Ramakrishnan.

The TNA leader also urged the government not to let itself dictated by “slogans” from certain “parochial” sections.

Sri Lanka’s leader of Opposition R. Sampanthan on Tuesday slammed the government over continuing detention of people booked under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) even after it committed itself at the UN Human Rights Council last year to review and repeal the law.

Speaking on a motion on the subject of missing persons and those in custody, Mr. Sampanathan, who also heads the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), recalled how the previous governments had granted amnesty to those who were arrested during the insurgency of the early 1970s and the late 1980s. He asked the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government why the Tamil prisoners should be treated differently.
‘Take a political decision’

Mr. Sampanthan argued that those who were detained “are not charged with crimes against society but charged with crimes which have political dimensions”.

Their continued detention was “not compatible” with transitional justice. He contended that a political decision had to be taken with regard to the prisoners, a matter which could not be viewed merely in legal sense.

The TNA leader also urged the government not to let itself dictated by “slogans” from certain “parochial” sections.
‘Absurd and stupid’

He described as “absurd and stupid” the reported observation of a political leader regarding the re-emergence of [Tamil] Eelam if the government released the prisoners, withdrew military from the Northern Province and allowed the re-merger of the North and East with powers on land and police.

“After the end of the armed conflict, can you cite a single instance to show that there had been revival of violence?”
The Hindu

We’ll repeal PTA, says Sri Lankan government
T. Ramakrishnan

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera on Tuesday told Parliament that the government was in the process of repealing the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

Responding to Leader of Opposition R. Sampanthan’s persistent query on the issue of PTA repeal, Mr. Samaraweera said the Law Commission of Sri Lanka, entrusted with the task of formulating an alternative draft law in keeping with international practices, had just submitted a draft. Hopefully, the matter would be finalised in a couple of months.
218 prisoners

Giving an account of the proceedings in respect of 218 prisoners, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Minister D.M. Swaminathan said 39 persons were, in November last year, released on bail. Of them, 19 were recommended for rehabilitation before their eventual release. While three had accepted the government’s offer, the others did not. In respect of the remaining 20, two had been discharged from their cases and one was facing a case in the Trincomalee High Court while issues concerning the 17 accused were under examination.

As for 21 accused against whom indictments had been filed, three had accepted the proposal for rehabilitation. Besides, nine out of 41 convicted persons had gone on appeal. There were cases pending in High Courts and Magistrate courts against 117 persons. Mr Swaminathan informed the Parliament that a Special High Court was established one and a half months ago to attend to court cases of the persons kept under detention.
The Hindu


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