74 Tamil political prisoners transferred to Magazine, jailed with criminal offenders

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 19 November 2008, 13:56 GMT]
Prison authorities of Colombo Remand Prison (CRP) Tuesday evening suddenly transferred 74 Tamil political prisoners, including senior journalist J.S.Tissanayagam to Colombo Magazine Prison, placing them with hardcore criminal prisoners from South, according to initial messages passed by the prisoners to their relatives. The political prisoners, who have been urging the authorities to transfer them to remand prisons in Northern and Eastern provinces, in their message said they have been intimidated by the move as they are reminded of the massacre of more than 50 Tamil political prisoners inside the nearby Welikada prison in July 1983 by prison guards and fellow Sinhala prisoners.

The political prisoners have managed to convey their plight to their relatives outside the prison and urged them to alert parliamentarians, media and human rights watchdogs with the message that they have been moved to a block, where remand prisoners accused of mass-murders, rapes, drug offenses and other underworld crimes were being held.

The sudden transfer comes following the reports that the Tamil political prisoners in the Colombo Remand Prison and in Anuradhapura prisons recently staged a token fast urging the authorities to expedite their cases, which have been postponed fortnightly for several months, to consider bail applications, and to transfer them to prisons in Northern and Eastern Provinces. They had also signaled a fast-unto-death campaign if authorities failed to respond to their token fast.


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