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Protesters seek pardon for LTTE rebels

Say commanders have been released while rank-and-file have been neglected

Protesters gather outside Welikada prison in Colombo to seek a general pardon of former LTTE detainees Protesters gather outside Welikada prison in Colombo to seek a general pardon of former LTTE detainees
  • ucanews.com reporter, Colombo
  • Sri Lanka
  • May 30, 2012
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Activists, priests and political leaders joined family members of former Tamil rebels detained since the end of the civil war in 2009 this week in a demonstration calling for a general pardon.

Mano Ganesan, a Tamil activist and convenor of the Civil Monitoring Commission, said yesterday during a rally opposite Welikada prison in Colombo that Tamil detainees were political prisoners being held without charge.

“Those who have been in prison for several years should be released by a common pardon, and others should be transferred to government-run rehabilitation centers,” he said.

“The government has pardoned some who were the most popular commanders in the LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] and some of them are now government ministers. But some of the small-timers who executed commands [are kept in prison].”

Nimal Siripala de Silva, cabinet minister for irrigation and water resources management, told parliament last week that there were no political prisoners in Sri Lanka.

In response to a statement made by the Tamil National Alliance, he said 359 former LTTE suspects are being detained in the country’s prisons, of which 309 have cases pending against them.

He added that three new High Courts would be established to prosecute the cases.

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Catholic judge appeals for Tamil rights
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