No political prisoners in Sri Lanka – Minister Gammanpila

Udaya Prabath Gammanpila

Co-Cabinet spokesman, Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila said there were no political prisoners in Sri Lanka.

The Minister responding to a question at the weekly Cabinet media briefing held online yesterday said the Government of Sri Lanka does not have any issue with regard to political prisoners, as there were no such prisoners in the country.

“No one has been arrested as a political prisoner on the grounds of being a Tamil, and those who have been involved in terrorist activities, drug smuggling and other offences can be held as prisoners of crime under any other law,”he said.

The Minister further stated that prisoners are not classified according to race but according to punishment.

“A political prisoner is a person who is arrested and imprisoned only because of his or her political views.If it is known that any person is being held as a political prisoner without informing the government, it should be revealed,”he said.

Responding to an another question which inquired about the government’s response to a request made by Tamil MPs to the Prime Minister regarding Tamil prisoners held since 1994 under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, he said they were arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and remanded or imprisoned. The Minister emphasised that these prisoners were terrorist suspects or terrorists and not political prisoners. He said the letter will be forwarded to the relevant institutions and its truth will be verified.

Minister Gammanpila further stated that although the falsity of the letter is determined, it is an injustice to the Prime Minister to give a wrong interpretation to the fact that the facts contained in the letter submitted are accepted as truth.

(Source: Daily News – By Ishara Mudugamuwa)