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Sunday, 22 November 2015

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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 society.

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 leaders.

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 batches.

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.

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