Twenty more prisoners to be released next week
All agree to undergo one year rehabilitation:
Another 20 Tamil prisoners will be released next week, Prisons
Reforms, Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Hindu Religious Affairs
Minister D.M.Swaminathan told the Sunday Observer. He said he had
finalised arrangements with Attorney General Yuvanjana J.W.Wijayatilake
to send them for one year rehabilitation before integrating them with
Thirty nine Tamil prisoners were released last week.
The Minister said he had also made arrangements with the Commissioner
General of Rehabilitation Maj.Gen.Janaka Ratnayake to send them direct
to the Rehabilitation Bureau from the prisons on being released. They
will receive psycho-social consultation during the first six months and
vocational training during the remaining six months, he said.
Of 216 prisoners in detention under the Prevention of Terrorism Act
(PTA) 48 have been convicted by Courts, 116 are facing trials after
charge sheets served on them and remaining 52 have not been issued
charge sheets so far, sources said.
The Tamil political prisoners who ended their nine-day
fast-unto-death on November 17 and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA)
that staged a wide-scale hartal on the issue apparently are convinced of
the government's assurance that they will be released in batches and
integrated with society, under rehabilitation programs.
The prisoners ended their fast on the assurance given by the Minister
in the company of TNA spokesman M.A.Sumanthiran and other political
While the prisoners had stated immediately after ending their fast
that they would have no alternative but embrace death if the President's
promise to end their long incarceration problem by December 15 was not
fulfilled, Sumanthiran told the Sunday Observer that they have no plans
of staging any more agitations on the issue as the government has, in
keeping with its assurance, released the first batch of 33 prisoners on
November 16. with arrangements being made to release the others in
The process of rehabilitating the prisoners and integrating them with
society will begin from November 25, according to what they have been
informed by the relevant authorities, Sumanthiran said.
The TNA was contented that its requests and agitations on he
prisoners' issue have had salutary effects.
It was not under the instigation of the TNA but the prisoners
themselves had staged the fast-unto-death protest demanding their
release, rehabilitation and integration into society, he said.