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TNA condemns release of soldier imprisoned over massacre of Tamils

The Tamil National Alliance(TNA) has denounced Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s decision to release Staff Sergeant Sunil Rathnayaka, who a Sri Lankan court found guilty of the ‘Mirusuvil massacre’.

TNA tweeted their disapproval earlier today on their account (@TNAmediaoffice);  

If true, we condemn the opportunistic action of Pez @GotabayaR under guise of dealing with the issue of prisoners at a time like this. This is one case in which a person was actually convicted. Other cases weren’t even prosecuted or were acquitted.

Rathnayake who was released from Welikada Prison in Colombo earlier today, was sentenced to death on June 25, 2015 by the Colombo High Court after a 13-year-trial for the massacre of eight Tamil Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in December 2000. His victims included children, amongst who was a five-year-old whose body showed signs of torture.

General secretary of the far-right ‘Sinhale’ organisation, Medille Pannaloka, took to his Facebook account to welcome the decision and extended his gratitude to Ministry of Defence Secretary, Kamal Gunaratne for reassuring him that they would release Ratnayake. He added that he was called today by Gunaratne to be personally informed of the ‘good news’.

Rathnayake's release was however, condemned by human rights group Amnesty International and some social commentators.

In response to Rathnayake's release, Jaffna University senior law lecturer, Kumaravadivel Guruparan tweeted, “Not surprising but utterly disgusting -  in the middle of a crisis furthering the politics of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism.”