The President of Sri Lanka has granted pardon to 93 prisoners. Some are accused of murder in this, while many are suspected terrorists of ‘LTTE’. The American has criticized Gotabaya Rajapaksa for this.
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa grants clemency to prisoners
Sri Lanka released 93 prisoners on Thursday. These include 16 suspected LTTE terrorists, who were arrested without any charges. Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was released on Thursday after pardoning him on the occasion of ‘Poson Poya’. ‘Poson Poya’ is an annual festival celebrated by the Buddhist majority of Sri Lanka to mark the arrival of Buddhism in the country.
Jail spokesperson Tushara Upuldeniya said that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) suspects were among the 93 prisoners released after the President’s pardon. They were released from the northern city of Jaffna and the north-central city of Anuradhapur. He was arrested under the Anti-Terrorism Act (PTA).
Demand to abolish anti-terrorism law
On important Buddhist days, the Sri Lankan president uses his executive authority to release prisoners, taking into account the recommendations of the authorities. The main Tamil party, the TNA, is collaborating with rights groups to demand the release of Tamil political prisoners who have been imprisoned for 10-20 years without charge. Earlier this month the European Parliament also passed a resolution to repeal Sri Lanka’s PTA.
TNA sources said that around 100 Tamil political prisoners have been kept in prison without any charges. At the same time, the Sri Lankan government says that there are no political prisoners in its jail. The LTTE carried out a military operation for a separate Tamil nation in the island nation’s northern and eastern provinces before the assassination of its key leader Velupillai Prabhakaran in 2009 by the Sri Lankan military.
criticism of the president
The US has criticized the President’s decision to release a former Sri Lankan lawmaker from prison, facing death sentence in a murder case. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has pardoned former ruling party MP Duminda Silva’s sentence under special powers. Jail spokesperson Chandana Ekanayake said Silva was released from Velikada prison after being pardoned.
Silva, a former MP of the ruling SLPP, and 12 others face 17 charges, including the murder of his political rival and MP Bharat Laxman Premchandra and four others in 2011. A special committee of three high court judges had sentenced five convicts, including Silva, to death in 2016, while seven other suspects were acquitted. The top court had in 2018 dismissed their appeals against the death sentence of Silva and three other convicts and upheld the lower court’s decision.
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