Friday, September 18, 2009

1600 political prisoners are in Sri Lanka jails for many years without trial

1600 political prisoners arrested on suspicion under Emergency Regulations (ER) and Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), languishing in various prisons in Sri Lanka for many years without being produced in the courts.

They launched a hunger strike as their requests placed in previous hunger strikes had not been taken into consideration despite promises by legal authorities that their cases will be taken for trial in two months time, sources in Colombo said.

The protesting prisoners further said that they believe that all are equal before the law and that they request the Sri Lanka President to at least allow them on bail as persons under normal court procedure

The political prisoners who had earlier staged hunger strikes 2 to 3 times in the period between 27th to 31st July 2009 had given up the strike on assurances given by legal authorities that their cases will be taken to trial within two months but they had not kept their word and this has forced them to go on hunger strike, they said.

They further pointed out that it is an outright violation of human rights to keep them in the prison, who had been arrested merely on suspicion under ER and PTA, without legal action against them for many years.

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