Friday, February 6, 2015

Sri Lanka releases 5 Indian fishermen facing death sentence after President Rajapaksa grants pardon

Nov 19, 2014 at 06:08pm IST

Chennai: Sri Lanka on Wednesday released five Indian fishermen serving a death sentence in drug smuggling case. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa pardoned the fishermen. The decision came a few days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to the Sri Lankan President where they agreed to transfer the fishermen to an Indian jail. Sri Lankan Minister Senthil Thondaman said, "PM Modi spoke to President Rajapaksa and the latter decided to pardon the five Indian fishermen facing death sentence. It if for the Lankan President to say whether it's a fallout of conversation with PM Modi or not. We don't call it a pardon for Indian fishermen, we call it reduction of sentence."

The five fishermen from Tamil Nadu released were Emerson, Augustus, Wilson, Prasath and Langlet. They are likely to be released in two-three days. It is, however, still not clear whether the five fishermen will be serving sentence in India or not or is it a pardon. On behalf of the Indian fishermen, an appeal was filed against the death sentence in the court of appeals by the lawyer engaged by the Indian high commission. The Indian High Commission has approached some of the best legal brains of Sri Lanka to have a look at it," the spokesperson of the Indian High Commission in Colombo had said. 

Five Indian are on death row for allegedly smuggling drugs. The case dates back to 2011 when the five fishermen set out to fish from Rameswaram and were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy on the charge of possessing narcotics. The state had witnessed a number of protests on the issue and had sought the Centre's intervention too. DMK leader TKS Elangovan said, "It's a very good thing. Our leader had already appreciated the efforts made by the Prime Minister in this regard. We are very happy."

Source: [last accessed 06.02.2015]

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