Last week, the Court of Appeal (CoA) overturned a life sentence given to Jaffna University lecturer and former LTTE cadre, K. Kannathas, under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism (PTA) for allegedly recruiting 'child soldiers'.
The appeal was filed last year questioning the indictments filed by the Attorney General (AG) department. M A Sumanthiran, who represented Mr Kannadasan, reportedly argued that since the AG department acknowledged that it could not justify it's inquiry, Kannadasan should be released immediately.
Whilst Mr Kannadasan was released, the CoA bench stated that the AG department can file fresh charges in future, if they choose to do so.
In 2017, Mr Kannadasan was handed a life sentence by the Vavuniya High Court, after a family filed a complaint claiming that he had forcefully recruited their daughter during his time in the LTTE.
At the time, Mr Kannadasan's lawyer questioned how he could be prosecuted as he had undergone the government's 'rehabilitation programme' following the end of the armed conflict. Many LTTE cadres were enticed to surrender themselves and undergo the government programme on the promise they would not be later prosecuted under Sri Lanka's laws for their involvement with the LTTE.
Sri Lanka has failed to repeal the PTA, despite commiting to do so under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP+) and the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution 30/1.