President to convene high level meeting

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday met the Tamil Progressive Alliance leaders at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday. The discussion focussed on the salary issue of estate workers and development activities in the plantation sector. Picture by Udesh Gunaratne

President Maithripala Sirisena has agreed to convene a special high level meeting next week to take a decision on the request to release the persons detained for a long time under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

The President had given this undertaking when a TNA delegation led by Opposition Leader R.Sampanthan met the President at the Parliamentary Complex yesterday.

The special meeting will be attended by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Justice Minister Thalatha Athukorala, Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya PC, the Opposition Leader and all the other relevant stakeholders.

The Opposition Leader’s Media Spokesman told the Daily news that the Opposition Leader requested that the Government should not to look at the issue of PTA detainees merely on the legal perspective.

He had urged the President to look at the issue through a political perspective because it is connected to the “Tamil struggle”.

“The TNA delegation highlighted that a solution to the Tamil political prisoners’ issue must be in line with these sentiments. It was also pointed out that the JVP rebels who were arrested in the 1970s and 80s insurrections were later released. It was also pointed out that these prisoners were held under a legislation which the Government has already undertaken to repeal and that the prisoners’ confessions are not admissible before the law as per the new Counter Terrorism Act. Even if they had been meted out punishment at the right time, most of them would have been served their term and would have come out by now. Therefore, it was explained that it was not right to keep them in prison any longer,” the spokesman detailed.

The President has agreed to call for a high level meeting to discuss the above matters favorably and see what steps could be taken. TNA MP M.A.Sumanthiran also participated in the meeting.

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