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TNA urges release of political prisoners in meeting with UN Special Rapporteur

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) called the release of all political prisoners in a meeting with the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence Mr. Pablo De Greiff who is currently visiting Sri Lanka. 

Mr Sampanthan told Mr Greiff the Tamils were "in custody not because they robbed or stole for personal gain. Every one of their cases has a political dimension, therefore their cases need to be looked at in that context and resolved."

"The Sri Lankan Government has failed to understand this fact. He further said, “the government has already accepted the fact that the PTA is a detrimental law and a law that should be removed from the statutory books. All these prisoners should be released.". 

On the ongoing issue of missing persons, Mr Sampanthan told Mr Greiff, "if a mother handed over her son to armed forces or a police officer she wants to know what happened to him it is a legitimate demand”.

"Therefore, these demands cannot be ignored," he said. 

Pointing out the delay in operationalising the Office of the Missing Persons, Mr. Sampanthan highlighted the importance of having this office established in the North-East as well.   

"These matters must be resolved, and cannot drift if it drifts, it will create a serious impediment to the reconciliation process," he added. "There are people waiting to disturb the reconciliation and the political solution process and we must not play into the hands of those people."

Mr Sampanthan urged the Special Rapporteur "to ensure that the voluntary commitments made by the Sri Lankan government to the people of Sri Lanka and to the international Community are implemented fully." 

On the issue of land occupation, the Mr Sampanthan pointed out “that our people have strong attachment to the lands not merely a sentimental but much beyond that and people are protesting demanding the release of their lands in some areas for more than three hundred days, they are in the sun in the rain and they are exposed to all kinds of elements but they are determined that they want their land to be returned”.