Prosecute or release LTTE suspects, deputy minister demands

By Percy Kuruneru, Anuradhapura Corr.

Women’s Affairs Deputy Minister Vijayakala Maheshwaran on Saturday demanded that the government take immediate action with regard to Tamil detainees in remand custody in Anuradhapura jail without further violating their human rights. “Produce them before courts and punish them if found guilty or release them if there are no charges, but do not keep them just as LTTE suspects,” the Deputy Minister said addressing media soon after visiting the detainees on Saturday.

36797_1The suspects had been kept for more than two years without any charge against them, she said. “As a member of the incumbent government, I condemn this despicable act and the government should take immediate action without letting them rot behind bars,” she said.

“They have been in custody without trial and their human rights have been violated. Their family members, too, have been suffering. Their suffering must be brought to an end. When we campaigned for a regime change, we asked our people to vote for the new government and promised them that we would get our brethren behind bars released. But they are still languishing in the prisons. I condemn this situation.”

The Deputy Minister blamed Tamil politicians in the previous regime for not taking any action for the sake of Tamil detainees held without trial. “There was an ex-LTTE leader holding a deputy ministerial portfolio in the previous regime. He is now an MP. He could have raised his voice against this injustice. Had he been able to get the government to investigate the charges against these detainees, the process could have been over many moons ago.”