Sri Lanka: SEP/ISSE meeting to demand release of political prisoners

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Students for Social Equality (ISSE) will hold a public meeting in the northern town of Jaffna on January 29 to demand the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners.


Thousands of mainly young Tamils are being held in detention as “terrorist suspects” without charge or trial. Many were among the more than 11,000 persons arrested at the end of the government’s communal war against the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009. Others have been incarcerated for more than seven years.


The war-torn Jaffna peninsula is currently under heavy military occupation. During the war, hundreds of people were arrested, abducted and, in some cases, murdered by pro-government death squads. The army has recently intervened to block protests by the relatives of “disappeared” and detained persons.


The SEP is the only party waging a political campaign on their behalf as part of its broader fight to defend democratic rights. Insofar as other parties call for the freeing of detainees, it is conditional. Their slogan “release or file charges” accepts the arbitrary detentions as legitimate.


The SEP opposed the war from the outset on the basis of a socialist perspective to unite the working class—Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim—to defend democratic rights as part of the fight for a workers’ and peasants’ government. We call on workers, young people and intellectuals to attend our meeting and support our campaign.


Venue: Weerasingham Hall, Jaffna.
Time and date: Sunday 29 January, 2.00 p.m.