Look and Gaze, Jan 11, 2010: Four Tamil prison inmates in Jaffna Prison were hospitalised today, 11th January, after they had fallen seriously ill due to a hunger strike they had undertaken for their release from detention under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. They are among thousands of Tamil detainees in several prisons who have been held under the PTA for a long period now. The prisoners detained under the PTA in
The government has so far failed to take effective action in order to ensure justice for prisoners arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act although the war against the LTTE has been declared to have been brought to an end by the middle of May, 2009.
Even after the defeat of the LTTE large numbers of suspects were arrested on the basis that there was evidence of connections they had had with the LTTE. However, no reports have been filed in courts about the details of any such involvement or of any legal action that the government is proposing to take regarding these detainees.
During the period of the hunger strikes by detainees under the PTA they have been several occasions in which there were complaints of assaults and the use of violence against some of the prisoners. There are also allegations of the deaths of some prisoners.
Many international human rights organisations have demanded that proper legal action should be taken against these suspects and if no legal action is to be taken they should be released forthwith. However, there does not seem to be any response to such demands from the government.
The parents of the suspects who are now in critical condition have been visiting the human rights organisations in
The Asian Human Rights Commission condemns the continuous neglect of the prisoners held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The AHRC launched an online petition which was signed by thousands of persons and forwarded to the President of Sri Lanka for the release of prisoners under the PTA if there is no evidence for taking legal action and for the lifting of the PTA altogether.
The AHRC particularly demands that all appropriate action be taken to ensure the safety and security of the prisoners who are now in critical condition. Further action should be also taken to deal with the demands made by them on their behalf and those of others. (Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission,