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Tamil political prisoners still languish in jail, whilst Sri Lanka lifts ban on some diaspora groups - Rev Marimuthu Shakthivel

The Sri Lankan government’s move to lift a ban on a handful of Tamil diaspora organisations whilst hundreds of political prisoners remain imprisoned is a “deceitful drama”, according to human rights activist and Anglican pastor Rev. Marimuthu Sakthivel.

Speaking to reporters this week, Rev. Sakthivel stated the plight of political prisoners as well as the continued use of the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) by the Sri Lankan state as reasons as to why the limited de-proscription of some groups was “a sham”.

He also warned that the continued legislation of several groups and individuals may be used to target Tamils as “traitors and terrorists” and to detain them under the PTA.

Rev. Sakthivel went on to highlight how the move was made ahead of the upcoming UN Human Rights Council session, where accountability for Sri Lanka’s mass atrocities are set to be discussed.

“Tamils have been intensifying their pressure on the international community to bring the Sri Lankan rulers and their soldiers before the International Criminal Court,” he said. “At this crucial juncture a three-pronged campaign is being made and currently underway to divide the Tamils, distort their politics and destroy the voice of justice.”

Read more reaction in our feature: Selfish and cynical – Sri Lanka lifts ban on some Tamils but many more remain barred

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