More than 200 political prisoners who were detained under the notorious Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) are on hunger strike throughout Sri Lanka. In Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Jaffna and many other parts of the country, a number of people have been detained for a long time under the suspicion of terrorism, but without any charge. Today three prisoners in Jaffna were taken to hospital as their health deteriorated.
“As the country prepares for the presidential election it is an outrage that a large number of people are still detained without any reason” said Siritunga Jayasuriya chairman of Civil Monitoring Commission (CMC) and the presidential candidate for the United Socialist Party.
Recently the opposition candidate, Sarath Fonseka, announced that he stood for an amnesty for the over 15,000 people who had been detained under suspicion of being a terrorist. The credibility of Fonseka’s statement has been brought into question as he has completely ignored the plight of these hunger strikers. The UNP and TNA, who support Fonseka, have also been criticised as their hypocrisy is exposed.
Tamil Solidarity demands the immediate release of the prisoners. We also demand that all those who stand for human rights and democratic rights join and support the prisoners’ protests. We condemn the TNA MPs who refuse to lend their support to these suffering people and instead rally behind the JVP and UNP-backed presidential candidate, Fonseka.