Opposition leader R. Sampantha says that President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had agreed to release 61 Tamil political prisoners by 20th of this month.
The prisoners according to TNA leader Sampanthan will be released in two batches 31 prisoners next Monday and another 30 on the 20th of this month.
Sampanthan said he had met Sirisena and Wickremasinghe yesterday and both leaders had given the above assurance.
The TNA leader went on to say that both Sirisena and Wickremesinghe had agreed to fast track investigations on the rest of the prisoners which could result in either prosecutions or release under bail conditions.
Sampanthan told the media today that the matter of political prisoners will come to an end before the end of the year.
The prisoners, numbering 217, have been accused of engaging in terrorist activities and held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. They have been in jails for varying periods ranging from five years to 15 years.
The Tamil prisoners recently launched a hunger strike in jails across Sri Lanka demanding their immediate release.
However after five days they suspended their fast following an assurance by Sirisena that the prisoner’s grievances will be looked into.
The President promised to release the former LTTE cadres imprisoned for minor offenses Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan said earlier.
The prisoners called off the hunger strike after Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe read a communication, sent by President Sirisena advising him to process their cases expeditiously.
However, Minister Rajapakhse had earlier said there were no political prisoners held in any of Sri Lanka’s prisons and some of the 217 LTTE suspects held in the prisons currently are already serving sentences and others are awaiting court action. He said that all these suspects have charges against them relating to bombings and killings.