2ND LEAD

Welikade detainees call off fast-unto-death campaign

[TamilNet, Saturday, 13 October 2007, 10:40 GMT]
Tamil detainees at Welikade remand prison in Colombo have called off their fast-unto-death campaign on Saturday 6.00 p.m, after the visitng UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, assured them that their cases will be resolved within 3 months.The fasting detainees, since Wednesday, have been demanding Ms. Louise Arbour, to visit the Welikade prison, look into their plight and exert pressure on the Sri Lankan government to expedite their cases that have been postponed fortnightly and not been heard for more than a year. She met five of the 86 fasting prisoners.

Only two of the detainees would be allowed to meet the UN High Commissioner the Prison officials had told the fasting detainees.

The detainees who objected the move, demanded all of them wanted to see her.

Finally, five representatives of the detainees were allowed to see Ms. Louise Arbour.

When the prisoners met her in Saturday afternoon they wanted her to personally visit to their cell and put an end to their fast campaign. She explained her time limits and the busy schedule and pleaded them call off the fast.

Mutthuvel Srikanth,65, from Trincomalee, Mahalingam Sudhakaran, 15, from Tirukkovil, Ampaa'rai, Ravindran Ragu, 25, from Colombo, Balakumar Balaragu, 35, from Trincomalee and Francis Manoharan, 30, from Mannaar met the the visiting UN High Commissioner and handed over a petition to her.

The meeting took place at the Prision Head Office.


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