Repeal PTA, release political prisoners -CHRD

[TamilNet, Monday, 23 September 2002, 06:49 GMT]
The Centre for Human Rights and Development (CHRD) Sunday held a one-day seminar in Trincomalee Town Hall to mobilize the support of the people for an agitation campaign demanding the repeal of the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and the release of all Tamil political prisoners now being held in various prisons in the south.

Eastern Rehabilitations Organization and the Consortium of Non-Governmental Organizations also collaborated with the CHRD in holding the seminar.

CHRD seminar
Chandrapala Kumarage, a leading human rights lawyer, speaking at the seminar held in Trincomalee, 22 September 2002.
Several speakers at the seminar appealed that everyone, irrespective of their ethnic and religious differences, should pressurize the government to act swiftly.

A leading human rights lawyer Mr.Chandrapala Kumarage said that state terrorism flourishes in the name of implementing the PTA.

The organizer of CHRD, Mr.S. Kandasamy, said at the commencement that his organisation has held several seminars in Jaffna and other parts of the country against the continuation of the PTA and the continued detention of the suspects arrested under this draconian law.

Tamil National Alliance parliamentary group leader Mr.R.Sampanthan said, the implementation of the PTA has affected almost every family in the Northeast Province. Women had been abused and several youths had disappeared after the arrest under the PTA, he added.

"The government, which labeled LTTE as a terrorist organisation is now engaged in peace talks with that group to find a permanent political solution to the ethnic conflict. This proves that the draconian PTA has failed to have any impact on the struggle waged by the LTTE. This fact is enough for the government to repeal the PTA immediately from the country's Statute book," Mr.Sampanthan further said.

CHRD seminar
TNA Parliamentarians R.Sampanthan,K.Thurasiretnasingham and Attorney K.Sivapalan at the seminar, 22 September 2002.
Every government in power uses the PTA as a political tool. Several politicians have eliminated their rivals using the PTA. Security personnel in connivance with politicians and lawyers have made quick money by arresting wealthy persons under the PTA act and blackmailing them, said Mr.Sampanthan.

The President of the All Ceylon Congress and Jaffna district parliamentarian Mr.A.Vinayagamoorthy said that the law enforcing authorities frequently use the PTA to commit human right abuses on citizens of the country.

Rev Mahadulve Punniya sara Thera said, that it is high time for the government to remove the PTA from the statute book.

"I do not consider the armed struggle by the LTTE as terrorism. Tamils took arms when the governments in power refused to accept Tamils' fundamental rights and continued to oppress them," he said.

Attorney-at-Law Mr. K.Sivapalan said that Tamil parliamentarians should come forward to fast before the offices of the Prime Minister and President demanding the repeal of PTA and the release of PTA prisoners.

TNA national list parliamentarian Mr.K.Thurairetnasingham and Mr.V.T. Thamilmaran, senior lecturer in the Colombo Law College also spoke.

 

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