No prisoner release in Sri Lanka on New Year’s Day

Dec 31, Colombo: The Commissioner General of Prisons P.W. Kodippili has dispelled the speculations that there will be a presidential pardon for special prisoners based on the good behavior on the New Year’s Day.

Responding to an inquiry by News First, the Commissioner has said that there is no truth to the statements claiming that prisoners would be released on January 01.

He has explained that normally the prisoners who have been jailed for minor offences would be pardoned by the President only on the Independence Day.

Local media reports citing Presidential Secretariat sources have said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa is considering a presidential pardon, which may be granted by January 01, for special prisoners and former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka who is jailed for two prison terms will also be considered for the presidential pardon.

However, the Commissioner General of Prisons has explained to News First that only those who have been imprisoned for minor offences and are unable to pay their fine will be considered for a presidential pardon and prisoners who fall under twenty eight categories of crimes would not be pardoned.

The President has reportedly directed the Secretary of the Ministry of Prison Reforms A. Dissanayaka and the Prisons Commissioner to submit a report regarding the eligible prisoners for the pardon.

The Commissioner has however, noted that a final decision has not been taken yet on the common amnesty that would be granted on Independence Day.

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