Sri Lanka to release 5 Indian fishermen on death row

Sri Lanka to release 5 Indian fishermen on death row

New Delhi/Colombo: The Sri Lankan government has conveyed to India that it is ready to free Indian fishermen on death row in the island country without any conditions.

However, Sri Lankan Minister Prabha Ganesan told Indian High Commission officials in Colombo that for this to happen, Indian has to withdraw the appeal filed in the Supreme Court against the High Court verdict.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa is ready to pardon the five Indian fishermen, the minister said.

Ganesan himself went to the Indian High Commission yesterday and apprised the Indian envoy of the President’s decision.

The Deputy Minister of Telecommunication and Information Technology was quoted as saying that President Rajapaksa was pushing for the withdrawal of the Indian appeal as that would drag the case for up to six months, delaying presidential pardon.

If India withdraws the appeal, President Rajapaksa would pardon the Indian fishermen awarded death for alleged drug trafficking without any pre-conditions.

According to Ganesan, President Rajapaksa had already discussed the pardon with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a telephonic call on Sunday.

Indian officials are expected to take a decision on withdrawing the appeal today. The minister’s offer came just a day after India filed the appeal.

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