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TNA urges govt to grant amnesty to detainees

The Tamil National Alliance yesterday urged the government to grant an amnesty to Tamil detainees without prosecuting them. TNA Leader R. Sampanthan, making a special statement in Parliament, said that despite the government’s assurance, made in Parliament in May, to expedite judicial process with regard to these detainees, prosecutions had not commenced so far.”If the legal proceedings could not be initiated against those who are kept in detention, why not release them under an amnesty? Tamil political detainees are being tortured and this raises serious human right concerns. Recently a group of prisoners who were transferred from the Vavuniya prison to the Mahara Prison had been assaulted. Several prisoners were severely injured, one is in a coma situation and another succumbed to his injuries,” he said.Sampanthan also charged that despite the shocking situation, prison authorities had gone to the extent of not releasing the post mortem report or the remains of the deceased detainee to his relatives.”The post mortem has already been carried out, but authorities are refusing to issue it or even to hand over the body to the next of kin of the victim. This is a serious situation as he had been deprived of his rights to have a decent funeral,” MP Sampanthan said.In response, Prisons Reform and Rehabilitation Minister Chandrasiri Gajadeera asked what a government could do when prisoners hold prison guards hostage to win their unfair demands.The Minister said: “I must insist that not a single bullet was fired when an operation was launched by the STF. Prisoners had in their possession iron clubs, chains and various other weapons and assaulted those STF men who engaged in the rescue operation. They had mobile phones with international direct dialing facilities in their possession,” the minister said while noting that prison guards were rescued using minimum force by the STF commandos.

TELO Admin