Nay Pyi Taw: India said it is confident that "justice will prevail" in the case of the five Indian fishermen sentenced to death for alleged drug smuggling in Sri Lanka even as it filed an appeal in the Sri Lankan Supreme Court in the case Tuesday.
Ministry of external affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin, briefing reporters accompanying Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Myanmar, said in answer to a query that the "Government of India gives high priority to the issue of the five Indian fishermen" and "will pursue all avenues".
"I can confirm to you today that on behalf of those five fishermen an appeal in the Sri Lankan Supreme Court has been filed," he added.
The appeal was filed by a lawyer who has been selected by the High Commission of India in Colombo.
"He is amongst the top lawyers in Sri Lanka and he has filed that appeal. The Government of India will bear all costs of this appeal," Akbaruddin said.
"We will pursue this, as I had repeatedly said, to the best of our ability. We are confident that justice will prevail in this case," he said.
On Monday, the Indian High Commission in Colombo got the judgement from a Sri Lanka lower court on the sentencing of Emerson, P. Augustus, R. Wilson, K. Prasath and J. Langlet - who were sentenced to death by the Colombo High Court on Oct 30 on charges of drug trafficking.
"It is a delicate matter," Akbaruddin said, and added that "we haven`t reached a situation where we could say the situation has reached a happy conclusion".
Last week, India`s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Yash Sinha met the five Indian fishermen at Colombo`s Welikada prison and assured them of every effort to secure their early release and repatriation.
Akbaruddin has said earlier that India and Sri Lanka have in place a "legal architecture" to deal with such cases and cited an earlier instance in which the death sentences of two Indian nationals were commuted to life imprisonment by the then Sri Lankan president.
There have been widespread protests in Tamil Nadu against the death sentence.