Sri Lanka releases all 5 Indian fishermen on death row

Sri Lanka releases all 5 Indian fishermen on death row

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka on Wednesday released the five Indian fishermen facing death penalty after Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa commuted their sentence, television reports said.

The move comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the issue a few days ago.

Earlier, India had also filed an appeal in the Lankan Supreme Court challenging the high court verdict awarding the death sentence to the five Indian fishermen for alleged drug trafficking.

Emerson, P Augustus, R Wilson, K Prasath and J Langlet, all hailing from Tamil Nadu, were arrested in 2011 and were sentenced to death by the Colombo High Court on October 30.

Television reports said that the five fishermen had been freed without any conditions and would be sent to India within two or three days.

On November 10, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had affirmed that Sri Lanka will transfer all the five fishermen, who had been sentenced to death on the charge of drug trafficking, to India.

The case dates back to 2011 when the five fishermen set out to fish from Rameswaram and were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy on the charge of possessing narcotics. (ANI and Agencies)