Tamil prisoners re-start hunger strike in Sri Lanka

Colombo, Nov 10 (IANS) Over 200 Tamil prisoners, including former Tamil Tiger rebels, re-started a hunger strike in jails across Sri Lanka on Tuesday for their immediate release.

The prisoners launched a similar fast last month but ended it after an assurance from President Maithripala Sirisena that their grievances would be addressed, Xinhua reported.

Sirisena vowed to release the former Tamil Tiger rebels imprisoned for minor offences before November 7 and expedite the remaining cases but due to delay, the prisoners had re-commenced the hunger strike, officials from the prisons department said.

The prisoners claimed that they had been detained for years without a fair trial and asked the authorities to address their grievances immediately.

Most of the prisoners were arrested during Sri Lanka’s 30-year civil war for suspected involvement with the rebels.

The conflict ended in May 2009 with the defeat of the rebels, many still remain in jails across the island nation.

Opposition parliamentarians from minority parties have alleged that at least 300 political prisoners arrested during Mahinda Rajapakse government remain jailed in the country.

During last month’s hunger strike, eight inmates were taken to the hospital after refusing food for three days.

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