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Protest in Colombo calls for release of political prisoners

A protest was held outside Welikada prison in Colombo earlier Tuesday, calling for the release of political prisoners, some jailed for years without charge.

A group called the Movement to Free Political Prisoners staged the protest, with relatives holding photographs of those detained and placards calling for their release.

Photograph: A mother holds a photo of her daughter held inside Weliakda Prison. Courtesy Ceylon Today

Last week, more than 200 Tamil prisoners went on hunger strike calling for the immediate release or to at the very least be charged, with many having been held for years. The hunger strike was ended after the government stated it will establish new courts to deal with their cases.

In response to Tuesday’s protest Prison Reforms Minister Chandrasiri Gajadeera stated that there were no political prisoners being held in Sri Lanka, reiterating the same remark made by Cabinet spokesperson last week.

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