Court releases ‘Sinhala Tigers’

The judiciary in Sri Lanka has released ten political activists detained for two years under anti-terrorism regulations. Sarath Kumar Fernando, one of the trade unionist arrested under Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), told BBS Sandeshaya that Attorney General (AG) has advised the court that no charges will be filed against the ten activists. 25 Sinhala nationals, trade unionists and media workers, were detained without charges. The group has filed a Fundamental Rights (FR) petition against their detention.

Media ‘propaganda’

Sarath Kumar Fernando denied the accusations by the authorities and many media outlets that they were supporting the LTTE.

He also criticised certain media of carrying out ‘false propaganda of the government’ without verifying the facts.

The group was described by Sri Lankan media as ‘Sinhala Tigers’.

“Our struggle was focused on labour rights. Ours was not an armed organisation,” he told BBC Sinhala service.

He said that they were detained to prevent their agitations to protect rights of the workers, mainly in Railway industry.

The 25 activists included three Sri Lanka Railway trade union members who were abducted in February 2007. They worked in the railway union newspaper ‘Akuna’.

‘Confessions’

In a statement issued in February 2007, the Free Media Movement (FMM) said it has received complaints that the publisher of the newspaper M.A Sisira Priyankara(38), lay out designer M.L.Senaviratna(35) and another activist Nihal Serasinghe(40) were abducted from suburbs of Colombo.

They were later found in the custody of Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) of Sri Lanka police.

The then military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said the three have confessed to planning and carrying out attacks on behalf of Tamil Tigers.

In a press conference held in Colombo in February 2007, journalists were shown footages of suspects ‘confessing’ to have worked with the Tamil Tigers to stage attaks in the south of the country.

Source : BBC

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