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Falsely imprisoned novelist Sivalingam Arooran released after 14 years

On 16th May 2023, novelist Sivalangam Arooran, falsely imprisoned for attempting to assassinate Gotabaya Rajapaksa in 2006, was acquitted of all charges by Colombo High Court. 

Judge Navaratne Marasinghe delivered the verdict that the confession by Arooran was not voluntary, and hence dismissed by the court. Arooran was imprisoned under the Prevention of Terrorism Act for fourteen years. The Act was initially enforced by JR Jayewardene temporarily in 1979, before being made permanent in 1982, and was modelled on South Africa’s Apartheid-era legislation.

Arooran developed his skills as a writer during incarceration, penning seven works in Tamil and one in English. Two of his novels which were written in prison - namely ‘Yalisai’ from 2016 and ‘Athurasalai’ from 2022 - have been granted the State Literary Award for best Tamil novel.

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