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SLFP MP claims 'more political prisoners will be released in January'

SLFP meeting in Vavuniya. 

Sri Lankan parliamentarian Suren Raghavan stated he is “preparing to release another batch of political prisoners by next January”, during a meeting with Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) members in Vavuniya on Saturday. 

MP Raghavan stated, "we have recently released 16 prisoners due to my efforts in relation to prisoners. There's more work to be done". 

“They may have made a mistake. What they did, with the intent they had, may be the seen as fault in the eyes of the state or justice. But 11 years after the end of the war, I am a firm believer that a general pardon should be given and they should be allowed to live their lives,” he added. 

Raghavan also insisted that he was instrumental in the release of the 16 Tamil political prisoners last month and reiterated that, “we need to cultivate a broken relationship and move on to the path of peace. We have to develop this country for a just cause". 

Read more : Sri Lanka grants presidential pardon to 16 Tamil political prisoners

"A new reform has been introduced in Parliament regarding missing persons. We have removed the barriers to making the Missing Persons Station fully operational," he claimed. 

Raghavan also commented on the economic situation: 

“There is no denying that the Sri Lankan government is in an economic crisis. There is no point in covering it up. Therefore, the government has offered to give Basil [Rajapaksa] full responsibility for the plans that will emerge from the economic crisis through his confidence in him. We expect the benefit of his visit within the next six months. I have a deep hope that he will.” 

Read more: 'Deeper into poverty' - Sri Lanka's economic devastation detailed in World Bank report

Last week, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP, Charles Nirmalanathan urged the Sri Lanka president Gotabaya Rajapaksa to take immediate action to release all remaining political prisoners held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). 

In June, the United Nation’s Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and US ambassador for Sri Lanka condemned the pardoning of convicted murderer, former MP, and close Rajapaksa ally, Duminda Silva. 

"Presidential pardon of Duminda Silva, a former MP convicted of the murder of a fellow politician, is another example of selective, arbitrary granting of pardons that weakens rule of law and undermines accountability" tweeted the UNHRC. 

Read more: UNHRC and US condemn pardon of Duminda Silva

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