30 Tamil political prisoners to be released on bail today

First batch of 30 Tamil political prisoners languishing in Sri Lankan jails will be freed on bail on Wednesday even as over 200 inmates, including LTTE rebels, have resumed hunger strike demanding their immediate release.

Colombo: First batch of 30 Tamil political prisoners languishing in Sri Lankan jails will be freed on bail on Wednesday even as over 200 inmates, including LTTE rebels, have resumed hunger strike demanding their immediate release.

The Attorney General has instructed the relevant attorneys to apply for bail, the Prisons Department said.

The first batch of 30 Tamil political prisoners will be released tomorrow, authorities said.

However, over 200 prisoners again went on a hunger strike yesterday alleging that the government had failed to honour its pledge to release them by Diwali which fell today.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader R Sampanthan claimed another 31 prisoners will be released on November 20.

The Tamil prisoners went on a five-day strike last month which they suspended following assurance from President Maithripala Sirisena who promised to expedite the processing of their cases.

However, later the government said it has decided not to grant a common amnesty to the Tamil prisoners but will expedite bail procedures for a section of the Tamil prisoners who are charged with minor offences.

According to Tamil political leaders, at least 300 Tamil political prisoners have been arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act are in jails across the island.

However, Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapaksha on several occasions has said that there are no political prisoners held in any of Sri Lanka's prisons and some of the LTTE suspects held in the prisons currently are already serving sentences and others are awaiting court action.

He said that all these suspects have charges against them relating to bombings and killings.  

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