Sri Lanka released 5 death-sentenced Indian fishermen
President Mahinda Rajapaksa used his executive powers and commuted death penalty to five Indian fishermen sentenced to death by Colombo High Court.
Sri Lanka on 19 November 2014 released five Indian fishermen who were sentenced to death. They were released after President Mahinda Rajapaksa used his executive powers to commute their death penalty.
The five fishermen who hail from Tamil Nadu are Emerson, P Augustus, R Wilson, K Prasath and J Langlet. All these fishermen were handed over to Indian High Commission after their release from Welikada Prison in Colombo.
Presidential pardon was given after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Indian High Commission and Union and State government made several efforts to get them released and grant them the pardon.
Besides, India on 11 November 2014 had filed an appeal in the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka against a verdict of the high court awarding death sentence to the fishermen.
Y K Sinha, the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo thanked Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa for the humanitarian gesture expressed the hope that this gesture will further strengthen the strong and multi-faceted relations between India and Sri Lanka.
These fishermen were caught from Rameswaram by Sri Lankan Navy in November 2011 on charges of drug smuggling in Sri Lankan waters. They were sentenced to death by Colombo High Court on 30 October 2014.
Drug convictions carry a mandatory death sentence and almost always it is commuted to life in prison. Sri Lanka has not carried out an execution since 1976.