Only 10 detained under PTA Govt Suspects held on serious terror charges

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By 2017-11-21

The Government yesterday (20) maintained that there are only 10 individuals currently detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) adding that all of them are suspects in serious cases of terrorism.

The cases include the murder of Major General Janaka Perera, the suicide bomb attacks on former Army Commander Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the killing of seven persons in the Wilpattu Forest and the attack on the......Anuradhapura Air Force Base, Deputy Minister of Justice Sarathi Dushmantha told Parliament.

He was responding to Opposition Leader,R. Sampanthan.

Sampanthan insisted that they do not wish to see the return of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and has called for a meeting with the President, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General to discuss the matter of 'Tamil political prisoners'.

"We will be able to come to a decision during that meeting," he added.

Taking part in the debate on the Head of Expenditure of the Ministry of Justice, Sampanthan said: "These youth who have been arrested under the PTA are political prisoners. They did not conduct crimes for any personal benefit, but for political reasons.

Therefore, these people can be pardoned and released. This policy applied for a large number of youths who were involved in the1971 and 1988/1989 insurgencies. They were given an amnesty and pardoned. The same policy can be applied for these persons as well."

He added that if the prisoners have committed crimes for personal gains he would not raise concerns about them.

"President Maithripala Sirisena pardoned the LTTE militant who tried to kill him because he was convinced that the militant carried out the act due to political motivations and not due to personal reasons. Why cannot other Tamil political prisoners be given a similar pardon"? Sampathan questioned.

These people say absurd things to prevent the right thing from happening, but doing the right thing is essential, he noted, adding that it is three years since this Government took office, but a solution to this matter is still pending.

He elaborated: "This is not good for the country. This is not good for harmony and reconciliation as well. Young people should not feel that they are being treated differently.

Now the armed conflict is over and the LTTE is no more. We do not want the LTTE to return again. We do not want violence. Therefore, this matter should not drag on indefinitely."

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