28 October, 2020

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Tamil Civil Society Rallies Round Tamil Political Prisoners’ Struggle

The Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF) has extended its support to the hunger strike protest undertaken by Tamil political prisoners demanding their immediate release.

TCSF Convener - Bishop of Mannar, Dr. Rayappu Joseph

TCSF Convener – Bishop of Mannar, Dr. Rayappu Joseph

Issuing a statement the TCSF said that it would take part in the token strike and protests being planned to be staged by prisoners’ relatives all across the North-East in the forthcoming days.

“TCSF adopts the definition of political prisoners that Amnesty International uses in its work. Accordingly it is our opinion that our brethren who took up arms for the sake of the liberation of the Tamil people and those who supported it, despite being criminalized by Sri Lankan laws, did so for a political reason and hence belong to the category of political prisoners. It has been 6 years since the end of the war and it is our opinion that if the Sri Lankan Government is interested in genuine reconciliation that they should immediately release all political prisoners languishing in its prisons.

“Even when looked from within the perspective of the Sri Lankan law (including the Prevention of Terrorism Act) we wish to point out that the indefinite pre-trial of many of these political prisoners is unlawful. As per Section 9 (1) of the PTA pre-trial preventive detention is only available for a maximum of 18 months and many who are being detained without trial beyond 18 months are being unlawfully imprisoned. We urge the Government of Sri Lanka to direct the Attorney General to either indict or release these prisoners forthwith.

“Recently in a High Court judgment delivered in a case involving the attempted murder of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga a woman who was languishing in prison for more than 15 years was found not guilty. It is reasonable to assume that many such similar persons are being kept in prisons during prolonged trials owing to the fact that there is no bail under the PTA. We urge that the Government direct the Attorney General to use his powers under the proviso to Section 7(1) and not unreasonably withhold his consent for bail pending trial. We also urge the Government to initiate steps to repeal the PTA.”

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  • 3
    5

    if the Sri Lankan Government is interested in genuine reconciliation that they should immediately release all political prisoners languishing in its prisons.

    Of course they need to be pardoned.

    The truth and recon commission shall receive people from all walks of life with issues like this.

    They will all require this kind of compassion.

    • 6
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      Vibhushana

      “Of course they need to be pardoned.”

      Pardoned for what? There is no charges framed and no basis for the charges except they were residing in the war zone.

      So these people are true political prisoners languishing in jail for so long periods. They certainly come within the designated category as for ‘political prisoners’.

      So next pertinent question arises, ‘who pardons whom’? The political prisoners will have to pardon the President and the Sri Lankan Government if they so wish. Not other way round! But with or without the pardon from the political prisoners they should be released as a very urgent matter.

      Unlike the criminals in the Parliament armed with the impunity and immunity they have always a Merchants Ward at the National Hospital to run to when ever they get into trouble, being arrested or had to serve jail sentence after being duly sentenced by court of Law.

      But these poor people with hardly any means to make ends meet, are incarcerated in jail, without any charges served, for so many years now and that is certainly a human tragedy. It is a dame shame on the Government of Sri Lanka calling it a Buddhist country strictly observing the teachings of Lord Buddha. So are we non-Buddhist to take this is what Lord Buddha had preached? What a disgrace.

      • 8
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        Pardoned for what?

        There are medium level LTTE being sued to attacks on civilians. The reason they are not political is their targets were unarmed civilians like those who travel on buses. There are other pending cases too I m sure.

        When the incumbent Minister for Justice says they are not “political criminals” then you can bet your house they aren’t.

        • 3
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          Vibhushana

          Before a pardoned to be served first you must have a clear charge. Without a clear charge what are you pardoning these people for without ever having committed any crime.

          If after so long time period, and the Government have not been able to come with any charges, and that is because they have NOT committed any crime other than they happen to be resident in the war area. So they are totally innocent.

          Innocent people do not need pardon they must be released with a sincere apology. It is only these people who have to, if they so wish, will Pardon the President and the Government of Sri Lanka.

          It is the President and the Government who should fall on their knees in front of these victims and worship them and ask for mercy and pardon for the grave human right violations they committed on them for having them incarcerated in jail for nothing.

          If not God will punish them and they will be born without limbs leaving them on a permanent worshiping posture!

          • 5
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            Its kind of getting tiring with you. You are lucky I have nothing better to do.

            Send your war criminals to the Truth and Reconciliation commission that is being setup. They can tell the truth and apologise.

            The commision will accept their apology and take it from there. It will most probably mean their case not getting dragged through courts for years to come.

            • 3
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              Vibhushana
              I am too getting fed up of you.

              Ok the next time if you get locked in jail for no cause then you beg and plead and get yourself released by a pardon and you be indebted to the big politicians, and if this is the type of country you want they so be it. Surely people get what they asked for.

              • 1
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                Hi this is the average mentality of the masses of Sri Lanka, one has to understand the basics of human rights first and nothing can substitute inteligence

        • 3
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          If there are pending cases they can be bailed out. There is no point of confining them infinitely.

    • 3
      2

      Vib,

      “Of course they need to be pardoned.”

      The President can pardon persons who have been convicted. In this case we are talking about an amnesty. Mixing apples and oranges.

      • 3
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        It is kind of splitting hairs isn’t it?

        If its an Amnesty then so be it. It will be an Amnesty for war criminals.

    • 1
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      Vibushanam, why wouldn’t you comment eh? You lowlife mongrel and a global pariah will pop your head to comment on anything to do with Tamils.

  • 3
    3

    From January, New King and Ranil Mahata have given so many false promises. Releasing the army taken lands, releasing the false arrests,… But they are taking more lands, army engaging into more of traditional Tamils businesses, Jayakumari like PTA arrests are continuing. After all their promises more than 20 was arrested even as Katunayake travelers who many times foreign passport holders. This is beyond the false invitation of Diaspora to return to Lankawe. But all the drug importers, rapist, road warriors, Ganakarayas like Eraj Fernando, , Thumida Silva, Mervyn Silva… are moving around in extended security details.
    Why Ranil Mahata has to talk to four… five times with the Tamils leaders? Are these leaders the lawyers of the prisoners? Why this process that should have been taken place between the judges and the lawyers at the courts one or two times meet, but the Tamil leaders in every regimes meeting couple of times without any output? Last time also, in New Royals, rein, somebody was going somewhere so they could not attend the Tamils’ false arrest matters. Let me ask a question from Ranil Mahata: When he come back, is he going function as the prosecutor? Why he has come back from Singapore to the courts to promptly take up cases of the people waiting in the prison? Is the Lankawe has been put on hold when every time Ranil go somewhere or even if he had go to men’s room? What is the name of this dupe game?
    It is Tamils matter. That is why. They have to endure the pain and have to break-in. Then only the Sinhala Intellectuals (Or the Sinhala Modaya) Leadership can have its political mileage at South. This is how the UNP started the dawn or the duck of the Lankawe in 1948 with disenfranchising the Tamils. This is what the UNP said in 1983 July. If they make the Tamils to stave then the Sinhala Buddhist will feel happy. That is why Ranil has said “Hold on; I cannot attend your problem now: each one of you has to stay in the prison and stave as per the age old UNP philosophy, each one of you have to break in and beg us. Then only we can show your condition to Sinhala Buddhist and get our votes.

    We have called on this column for UN peacekeepers. This country started from 1948 and continues on its Genocide. UNP is not the one to relent even if it sees all the Tamils have been broken in. That is why we keep telling this is a problem has to be solved by UN peacekeepers.

  • 2
    4

    The next time its not the heart vales but the vocal cords that will get blocked.
    Catholic Cbhurch are the root cause of the destruction and the mayhem. Its nothing knew but history repeating.

    HELLO RAYAPPU !!!!!!!! DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE CONCECRATION OF THE BODY AND BLOOD AT MASS IN REMEMBERING TO BE THAT OF JESUS OR THERE IS NO”MEANING TO IT”?
    DO YOU BELIEVE PRABAKARAN WAS LIKE JESUS?????

    [Edited out]

  • 1
    1

    Unlike in the previous occasions, Tamil Civil Societies this time appeals their case to a national government, which aimed at resolving some of the vexed issues that have plagued SL, and such stalemate and further adding fuel to the fire by introducing draconian laws to deal with uprising saw Tamil youths taken up arms. Maybe as with everyone else in SL, these prisoners would also have had high hopes when the government changed, but nothing avail for them this far. During election they something but that is it. Then, the south politics always revolves around mistreating Tamils that include incarcerating political prisoners, who does this better will thrive.

    Passing the bucks to the AG in this regard would not help, as he seems to be a smart patriotic. His focus seems to have been as to how to extricate MR from the spider web spun for himself. I doubt this prisoner hunger would make him to action a thing. End of the day, all needs to account for their karma, who else could taste it more than MR, who once preserved President above the law now seems to question even the president nominating a judge.

  • 5
    3

    The PTA has no relevance today more than six years after the end of the war and with absolutely no sign of any recurrence of violence in the North and East. If the PTA is withdrawn immediately it may at least be possible to release all the detainees forthwith and pave the way for a genuine reconciliation.
    Sengodan. M

  • 3
    3

    Tamil Civil Society,

    Thank you very much. You have bothered to do what our politicians don’t do namely studied the laws and even one definition of a political prisoner.

    I am really surprised.

  • 1
    4

    realistically and factually the Singhala Sri Lanka is at war with un armed non state Tamils and all the other countries are supporting this asymmetrical illegal war.

  • 4
    2

    Why Rayappu Joseph’s photograph. Why not Anton Balasingham’s and V. Prabhakara’s too

    • 1
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      Just because the Sinhala Intellectuals stopped Old King’s cutouts and started to place the New King’s cutouts.

  • 4
    0

    The Tamil Leaders and the Tamil society Leaders seem to be backward towards the government. The government is not interested in the imprisoned political prisoners or the displaced Tamil people and their sufferings. What these Tamil leaders have to do is to put forward all their demands in one stroke of the pen, not in piece meal, and give an ultimatum to the Government to fulfil the demands. If it is not fulfilled, there other steps to be followed, perhaps a referendum for the Tamils to decide their fate. There is no point in giving reports to the media and sit at home. Some sort of sacrifice have to be made by the leaders and the people to follow them. The government , whoever it is , is not for the Tamil people’s well being. That divide will exist so long as the two communities live in Sri Lanka. The people of the North and East have to decide their future. If the Tamil leaders could understand this fact, when the South Indian leaders could understand the problems of the Sri Lankan Tamils and if willing would pursue towards that goal.

    • 0
      1

      Sellam,

      “If it is not fulfilled, there other steps to be followed, perhaps a referendum for the Tamils to decide their fate.”

      Is our government going to worry about a referendum and who says that we can decide our faith after a referendum?

      Any other steps you can recommend like starting the failed armed struggle again?

      “There is no point in giving reports to the media and sit at home.”

      Better than just sitting home in front of the TV.

      “Some sort of sacrifice have to be made by the leaders and the people to follow them.”

      What will be your example?

      You seem to have forgotten your usual comment on the occupied land in Valigamam.

      I don’t expect any reply from you but have a nice day anyway.

  • 1
    0

    Rodney.

    Anton Balasingam and apparently Prabaharan are no longer amongst the living.
    Posting their photographs would be irrational taking into account the substance of this essay by Bishop Rayappu.Bishop Rayappu has written this essay,and as such,his photo is is the most appropriate.

  • 1
    1

    Why not just release them and send them on a vacation to Singapore. What have they commited? Nothing ……….. because there is no charge but may be only an allegation………

    However, CB Chief too had allegations against him too of deceit of Rs. 51b. Was it pea nuts? Nevertheless, he was able to take a good vacation in S’pore and return to work……….
    The Rs. 125m the (03) customs guys demanded looked pale in comparison.
    Why different standards?????

    because, they attempted to divide the country.That part may be worth more than Rs. 51b.

    If these men are to be released RAYAPPU who is in this picture needs to pray and ask for divine intervention.
    But these days his Master too is angry with him for comparing him to the likes of Velupillai.
    SO HOW COULD THESE DETAINEES BE RELEASED? EVEN THE GOD SEEMS ANNOYED.

  • 1
    0

    I am not debating on their “status” as “Political” or “Terrorists” related prisoners. The fact of the matters is: why anyone in custody for such a long period without being charged in a court of law? That I consider to be “inhumane” and against the law. The Minister of Justice says that there are no “Political Prisoners”. Then who are they? If they are connected with terrorism, by all means, prosecute and make an end with the charges against them. If they are considered to be “hard core” terrorists, then, certainly they must be prosecuted and sentenced accordingly. The problem, as I see it, had been created by the Government mostly by the previous regime. Then this present Government has a responsibility to look into it without delay and solve it without dragging their feet. So Mr. Minister of Justice, just get cracking on this and solve it soon. That is what “civil society” organizations must pursue.

  • 2
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    I hope Rayappu Joseph is brought before the law and charged for his support to LTTE.

  • 2
    1

    Vibhushana /Rohan,

    All your arguments are correct. There is a saying all you have seen with your eyes and heard with your ears are wrong, only a full investigation will reveal the truth. You say that LTTE did all the killings and Tamils theory is Government did all these killings to trap LTTE and justify the killings to the poor Singhalese like you. That is why we wanted a neutral international investigation. If you all are 100% sure that LTTE is the one committed these crimes, why can’t you all support for an international investigation which will eventually happen but may be after many years. Tamils will never forget this crime like your JVP comrades. There is another reason for JVP’s inaction is because JVP youths were killed by their own Singhalese brothers and sisters but Tamils killed by Singhalese.

  • 0
    0

    “TCSF adopts the definition of political prisoners that Amnesty International uses in its work. Accordingly it is our opinion that our brethren who took up arms for the sake of the liberation of the Tamil people and those who supported it, despite being criminalized by Sri Lankan laws, did so for a political reason and hence belong to the category of political prisoners.”

    This attempt to pretend that Amnesty International views Tamil Tiger terrorists as political prisoners was true 40 years ago but is false today. In fact AI have specificily repudiated the point of view that thhose imprisoned for terrorist offences are political prisoners (or prisoners of conscience) not only in relation to the Tamil Tigers, but also regarding the IRA, Hamas, ISIL and other terrorist groups. Furthermore, it is not just Sri Lanka that “criminalised” the Tamil Tigers, but India, the USA, the EU, UK and the United Nations itself!

    If this statement really does represent the views of Bishop Rayappu Joseph of Mannar that would seem to demonstrate once again what many people have long suspected: that the bishop is more interested in making excuses for the murderous activities of the Tamil Tigers than in upholding the teachings of the founder of his religion, Jesus Christ. What is a man of such vile views doing as a Bishop in the Christian Catholic Church?

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