CJP: Story of the Political Prisoners in Sri Lanka

Justice delayed

by Commission for Justice & Peace, Catholic Diocese of Jaffna, February 25 ,2016

CJP Justice delayed


  • The controversial PTA (Prevention of Terrorision Act) which was in effect throughout the long ethnic war in spite of protests from Human Rights Groups is still in effect even 6 years after the war.The prolonged and indefinite detention of most of the prisoners is due to this.
  • With regard to most of the case the confession extracted after tofiure was the only evidence against them. In some cases when such confession was rejected as unacceptable in some Coufts, the cases have been transferred to other Coufts with the same evidenoe.
  • Most of the prisoners are detained in jails far away from their homes and hence their near and dear ones have to make long journeys spending a lot of money and thus adding more strain to their burdens.
  • The dependants of these prisoners – their wives, children, parents etc. are undergoing lot of pain and anxiety with regard to their prolonged imprisonments leaving alone economic difficulties
  • Except for some of these prisoners others do not have the means to hire lawyers to appear for them and prove their innocence. Some Human Rights lawyers are appearing for some cases only
  • In the past there had been occasions of these prisoners being attacked by fellow prisoners and jail guards when they tried to manifest their protest in some form or other. There had been incidents where some prisoners even lost their lives. Eg. The cases of Nimalaruban from Passayoor and Dilruckson from Vavuniya who were killed 3 years ago. Such dangers are not entirely overruled even now.
  • There are some prisoners, out of desperation of prolonged detention are even opting to admit the charges lodged against then even when they had not committed the crimes. This they do with the hope that the sentence they receive would be shorter than their unending detention. There are also occasions when the State lawyers pressurized the suspects to admit the guilt even when they had not committed it, giving the hope that they would be given a lighter sentence.
  • The present Government which came to power with the promise of good governance has not so far delivered the goods especially with regard to these political prisoners. A number of repeated assurances and promises for speedy trials have not materialized substantially.

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