The 13 political prisoners, demanded their immediate release as they have being in remand for the last 08 years. Fr. Nandana Manatunga, the director of the Human Rights Office Kandy along with his staff and Fr. Reid Shelton Fernando, Fr. Ananda Fernando and the members of the Alliance for Justice visited the prisoners, explained the promise made by the president and requested the prisoners to end their fast. Addressing the Media Fr. Nandana & Fr. Reid said that the prisoners demand either general amnesty or rehabilitation if required for a short period.
The focus was on building “Hope during challenging times”, the organizers called this special to support and raise awareness of the needs of prisoners, their families, victims of crime, prison staff and volunteers and those working for the welfare of the prisoners.
“Justice would not be served until those who were unaffected are as outraged as those who are”- Benjamin Franklin. According to Francois-Marie Arouet, it is better to risk saving a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one.
“In Sri Lanka there are people languishing in jail for years without being able to furnish heavy cash bail ordered by the High Court. In 2012 there were 486 remand prisoners who had been in remand custody for more than 03 years with 136 of them having languished for more than five years in remand custody” Fr. Nandana remarked at the opening of the prison week and further said, there are also others in remand prison because they are poor and powerless and have no sureties acceptable to Court.
On the first day of the prison week, the 07th September 2015, a value education programme was organized by the Human Rights Office for the prisoners in Open Prison - Pallakelle and around 500 prisoners took part in event. A vibrant, timely input was given by Prof. Attanayake M. Herath with the invitation of the HRO.
Religious Observances of all the major religions were held on the second day at the Bogambara - Dumbara Prison on the 08th September 2015.
The attempt of the HRO of the “inside-outside” approach making outsiders aware of the insiders-prisons and prisoners being brought to the awareness of the outside world was successful. Further HRO discovered several innocent persons, serving death sentence and life imprisonment due to the defects of the justice system. Hence the execution of the capital punishment would risk of executing innocent persons.