Wigneswaran writes to Sirisena on Tamil prisoners

WigneswaranNorthern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran, in a letter to President Maithripala Sirisena, raised concerns over the safety of the Tamil prisoners staging a fast to register their protest at their prolonged imprisonment.

He said that there is a concern that the fast may be violently dealt with by prison officers, as has happened in the past.

“The problem is a human issue that should be dealt with both passion and empathy, given the number of years that these unfortunate human beings have been kept incarcerated without trial. I believe that if we could take steps to give those unfortunate persons the assurance that steps would be taken in respect of their cases within a specified period of time they would be satisfied,” he said.

He urged the President to take measures to prepare a list of the prisoners, categorizing them according to the offences in respect of  which they have been taken into custody and all detainees who are suspected of committing minor offences (e.g. the failure to provide information) could be provided a general amnesty, or at the very least they may be released on bail immediately.

Wigneswaran also proposed that all detainees suspected to come under the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, but against whom no cases have so far been filed, could be released on adequate bail.

“There is no reason for cases not to be filed if the necessary documents had been maintained by the police or others at the time the offences were said to have been committed. Keeping people in incarceration for years on mere suspicion without filing action against them is a violation of their human rights,” he said.

He also urged the President to give urgent directions to the Attorney General’s Department and the police to file indictments within a specified period of time. He said that given that several years have already passed it would be reasonable to suggest a short period such as one or two months to file indictments.

Wigneswaran said that those charged under the PTA, but whose cases have not been taken up for trial or are pending, where the only evidence against them is a so called confession made under the rovisions of the PTA could also be released on bail. He said time and again the conviction of accused on such confessions have been frowned upon by the Law as well as by Lawyers both local and international.

“Those against who cases have been filed and other evidence are available in their cases, steps may be taken to provide adequate Legal Aid to them and finish their cases on a priority basis. It is ideal to fix time constraints in respect of such cases. Judges could be directed by the Judicial Services Commission to hear the cases on a day to day basis. Judges must be given the option of granting such accused bail if the Trials get unduly delayed. I hope Your Excellency would take some urgent steps in this regard to prevent the fast and instead assure those affected that their plight is being considered with compassion,” he said. (Colombo Gazette)

3 COMMENTS

  1. These are not political prisoners. These are terrorists that acted and aided to kill innocent people by bombing buses, trains and public places. The terror sympathizer wiggi is trying to score political brownie points.

  2. Justice Wigneswaran is acting for the prosecution with regard to the Tamil political prisoners by suggesting what the government should do. The Tamil political prisoners have to be released with a presidential pardon as it is over 6 years since the war ended and those prisoners were involved in a civil war. Now that Sri Lanka has avoided an International Investigation into crimes committed by the Armed forces against the Tamil civilians, it is time to release the prisoners through amnesty. Then again the army has to withdraw from Vali North releasing all private lands they were forcibly occupying. These two matters are very important for the Tamils before any reconciliation efforts are made. I wonder why justice Wigneshwaran did not pursue on this matter although his manifesto during the elections was to see that the army is removed from the North .Immediately after he was elected as Chief Minister, he tried to enter the High Security zone and he was blocked from entering by the Army personnel.

  3. This government came to power owing to the votes of the Tamil community who trusted that some good will come to them. Leaving aside constitutional and power sharing matters that would obviously take more time, what prevents this government to release those prisoners languishing behind bars with no solid charges against them? Just hollow talk is not going to help. MS-RW government should do something about it without further delay. Justice delayed is injustice!

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