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MINISTER MORAGODA REVISITS KALUTARA PRISON AS PROMISED

( Created date: 21-Nov-2002 )

Minister Milinda Moragoda, His Lordship Bishop of Mannar, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph, Deputy Solicitor General Palitha Fernando and Director General SCOPP Bernard Goonatillake visited the Kalutara Prison today (November 21, 2002) where they held talks with prisoners and detainees held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). This visit follows up on the Minister’s earlier visit to the Kalutara Prison on October 9th, 2002, which led to the suspension of the fast undertaken by a group of Tamil prisoners.

During the 1 hour meeting between the Minister and the prisoners/detainees, representative for the prisoners, Eric Jesudasan, voiced his pleasure at the marked improvement observed since the Minister’s last visit to the prison. He was particularly pleased with the arrangements made by the Government to release those held for the possession of offensive weapons and firearms in the North and East as well as the withdrawal of cases based on confessions to police officers (except cases involving major incidents in the areas other than the North and the East and assassinations in any part of the island). Jesudasan urged the Minister to visit the prison on a regular basis to assess and alleviate the problems of the prisoners/detainees.

At the time of the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement in February of 2002, over 600 persons were detained or convicted under the PTA. By November, 478 of the above had been released. Since Minister Moragoda’s visit to the Kalutara prison in October, a further 34 prisoners have been released.

The Deputy Solicitor General Palitha Fernando agreed to set up a mechanism to review the pending cases and to expedite the release of those eligible for release.
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