Lawmakers urge Lankan govt to free innocent Tamils
Nearly 10,000 are in govt custody after Lankan forces crushed LTTE in 2009.
Colombo: Ethnic Tamil lawmakers urged Sri Lanka`s government to free innocent people detained for months without trial over alleged links to the defeated Tamil Tiger rebels.
Nearly 10,000 people are in government custody after Sri Lankan forces crushed the rebels last year and ended the island nation`s 25-year civil war. The government says the detainees are being rehabilitated.
Rajavarothayam Sambanthan, leader of the Tamil National Alliance, pressed for a general amnesty to be granted for people not facing "serious" charges and for those held without evidence against them to be freed.
"We would urge the government to take early action to ensure that everyone who can be released, be released," Sambanthan told reporters. "They must not be kept in custody purely on suspicion."
The issue of innocent people being detained for alleged ties to the Tigers is included in a report prepared by Tamil lawmakers on the plight of civilians caught up in the bloody civil war, said Sambanthan.
According to UN estimates between 80,000-100,000 people were killed in the violence, but human rights groups say the actual number could be much higher, with thousands of civilians dying in the final months of the conflict.
The lawmakers` report was handed over to President Mahinda Rajapksa at a meeting on Monday, Sambanthan said. At the meeting, Rajapksa promised a political solution to the protracted ethnic conflict, his office said.
The rebels battled government forces from 1983-2009 to create an independent state in the country`s north for ethnic minority Tamils.