Sri Lanka grants pardon to eight Tamil prisoners after 10 yearstext_fields
Colombo: Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe has granted pardon to eight Tamil prisoners who have spent over 10 years in jail. They were in jail for alleged connections to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
The official release said the pardoning is granted under section 34 of the Constitution. It has come as a result of interventions by Tamil parliamentarians. The Tamil political parties and rights groups have been pressing for the release of Tamil prisoners with suspected connections to the activities of the LTTE.
These prisoners have been held over a long period of time under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). Pre-trial periods have been taking a long time due to inordinate delays in the legal system. Sri Lanka is now under intense international pressure to repeal the PTA. The European Parliament adopted a resolution in 2021 to suspend the EU's preferred tax concessions to Sri Lankan exports until the repealing of the PTA. Colombo has assured the EU that the PTA will not be used to detain people.
Three of the eight prisoners were convicted for an assassination attempt on former president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. He was the president between 1994 and 2005 who consented to their pardoning. Two of the pardons have agreed to withdraw their action filed in the court of appeal. Three of the convicts have spent 22 of their 30-year jail terms. Two others had completed 14 years in jail.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ran a military campaign for nearly 30 years for a separate Tamil homeland in the northern and eastern provinces of the island nation. The movement ended when the Sri Lankan Army killed its leader Velupillai Prabhakaran in 2009.