None among political prisoners are real convicts, says released Tamil prisoner

[TamilNet, Sunday, 17 January 2016, 23:25 GMT]
36-year-old Tamil political prisoner Jeneevan Sivarasa, who was released after being ‘pardoned’ by SL President Maithiripala Sirisena on January 08 told TamilNet that almost none of the 230 Tamil prisoners currently languishing inside the prisons of Colombo had command responsibilities or even contributed to the ‘crimes’ they had been accused of. Most of those detained for decades and those given prison terms beyond the scope of their lifetimes were all innocent people like A.G. Perarivalan of Tamil Nadu who had no knowledge that the battery he was buying was to be used in an assassination. The act of continued imprisonment of these people itself constitutes a crime against humanity, Jeneevan Sivarasa told TamilNet in a video interview this week.



There are no former LTTE people with command responsibility among these prisoners as the Sinhala media is writing. Almost all of them have been forced to sign false convictions written in Sinhala, said Jeneevan Sivarasa who was the only prisoner to be released, that too for the use of a PR campaign of Maithiripala Sirisena concluding one year of his presidential term.

The SL military intelligence was behind three cases against Mr Sivarasa. Two of these were fabricated cases of conspiracy to assassinate SLFP politician Maithiripala Sirisena in 2006. These cases were being heard in Polonnaruwa.

“These were far-fetched. I was arrested while I was traveling in a bus. I didn't have any explosive material as the false convictions produced in an unknown language to me at the time of the so-called confessions. I didn't know Sinhala at that time and I was forced to sign on the papers. Similarly, almost all the political prisoners I have met inside the prison have been detained indefinitely for years or decades without any concrete evidence. Even those who were given prison terms beyond the scope of their lifetime, like 300 years of imprisonment, by the SL courts had anything connected to these ‘crimes’. They are all innocent,” Mr Jeneevan Sivarasa said.

The other case taken for investigation in Jaffna was about receiving armed training from the LTTE.

He didn't wish to comment on the crime for which he has been given presidential pardon. Jeneevan Sivarasa reiterated that commenting on the false accusation on which the pardon was based upon would be detrimental to possible release of other prisoners along the same line and didn't wish to go into details.

“Nobody among those sitting behind the bars had command responsibility in the LTTE. Those who had command responsibility are the ones like Karuna, Pillayaan and KP who are outside the prisons,” he further said urging Tamil politicians and activists to step up the campaign for releasing all the political prisoners. Their should be a principled and collective decision of release them all, he said.


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