Wigneswaran-led alliance call for release of Tamil political prisoners held under PTA

Thamil Makkal Thesiya Kootani (TMTK) led by former Chief Minister of Northern Province C. V. Wigneswaran has directed an appeal to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa calling for the release of Tamil political prisoners held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

Other signees of the letter are the President of Eelam People Revolutionary Liberation Front K. Premachandran, Leader of Tamil National Party N.Srikantha  and Ananthy Sasitharan – the Secretary General of Eeela Thamilar Suyadchi Kazhagam.

The letter pleads for “justice for the 91 Tamil political prisoners who have been in incarceration for the past 10-15 years and more, under the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act No.48 of 1979.”

With the conclusion of the war in May 2009, there had been an understandable expectation among the detainees at that time with regard to their early release on account of the release of many higher echelon leaders like inter alia Karuna Amman, Pillayan and K.Pathmanathan, the four signees pointed out in their appeal.

“We wish to submit that continuous incarceration for more than 10-15 years of these prisoners, justly calls for a review of their plight with a sympathetic and merciful approach.”

“After the General Election and during your leadership, in order to evolve and achieve a peaceful permanent solution to the national question, a resolution of the problems of these hapless prisoners would go a long way to create trust and credibility among the Tamils,” they stressed further.

The letter directed to the President by the four Tamil political leaders is produced below:

His Excellency Gotabaya Rajapakse Esqr.
President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka,
Presidential Secretariat,
Colombo.                                                                                                  
 
May it please your Excellency!
AN APPEAL ON BEHALF OF THE TAMIL POLITICAL
PRISONERS   HELD UNDER THE PREVENTION OF TERRORISM ACT
 
We, the respective leaders of the below -mentioned political parties that have come together recently under the umbrella of the Thamil Makkal Thesiya Kootani (TMTK), submit this appeal pleading for justice for the 91 Tamil political prisoners who have been in incarceration for the past 10-15 years  and more, under the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act No.48 of 1979. We are told those convicted and serving sentence after disposal of appeal are 29; Convicted and awaiting the outcome of their appeal – 17; those indicted and being now tried – 38; and those who pleaded guilty, convicted and undergoing incarceration still – 7 Total 91. Almost all of them have been in incarceration for over 12 years.  

A vast majority of these prisoners were either in their twenties or thirties at the time of their arrest and their continuing incarceration for a long period of time has affected them adversely and impacted on their families heavily.
Two prisoners died in detention some time back.

With the conclusion of the war in May 2009, there had been an understandable expectation among the detainees at that time with regard to their early release on account of the release of many higher echelon leaders like inter alia Karuna Amman, Pillayan and K.Pathmanathan. 

We wish to submit that continuous incarceration for more than 10 – 15 years of these prisoners, justly calls for a review of their plight with a sympathetic and merciful approach.

We can very confidently assure Your Excellency that a fair and reasonable resolution of the problems posed by the continuing incarceration of these political prisoners who have spent a considerable part of their youth in prison, would definitely be a big step in the right direction to initiate a serious and meaningful political process, through the means of dialogue, discussion and deliberation among all legitimate representatives of the people of our Country. 

After the General Election and during your leadership, in order to evolve and achieve a peaceful permanent solution to the national question, a resolution of the problems of these hapless prisoners would go a long way to create trust and credibility among the Tamils.

We therefore earnestly and fervently urge Your Excellency to be firm and ensure the early release of these unfortunate citizens of our country to enable them to re – join their families and re-enter social life. We are aware it would be necessary to grant special Amnesty to those convicted while the others could be released under the powers vested in you, if need be through Courts.

Thanking Your Excellency in anticipation,

Yours truly,
 
Justice C.V.Wigneswaran
Secretary General
Thamizh Makkal Kootani
 
K. Premachandran
President
Eelam People Revolutionary Liberation Front

N.Srikantha
Leader
Tamil National Party
  
Ananthy Sasitharan
Secretary General
Eeela Thamilar Suyadchi Kazhagam

Copy to:- Honorable Prime Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, Colombo

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