Exercising powers of the Presidential pardon; the Sri Lankan government on Wednesday released from Colombo prison the five Indian fishermen sentenced to death. With the pardon officially coming into effect, all five of them – P Emerson, 40, P Agustus, 32, R Wilson, 42, K Prasad, 30, and J Langlet, 22 – who were arrested on November 28, 2011 for smuggling heroin,were shifted to the Indian embassy in Colombo. All of them are traditional fishermen from the coast of Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu.
Confirming the release, a senior official at the Indian high commission told Indian Express that they are likely to be taken to Chennai on Thursday itself. “Five of them are at the Indian embassy in Colombo now. Likely to land in Chennai by Thursday,” the official said.
Skenitta, wife of Prasad, one of the five fishermen, thanked the Indian and Sri Lankan authorities for their decision to release the fishermen. “He just spoke to me over phone from the Indian high embassy. I cant wait anymore. We are leaving to Chennai tonight to receive him,” said Skenitta.
Prior to the formalities for seeking presidential pardon, the fishermen had withdrawn their appeal against the death sentence on Tuesday.
Five of them are slated to land at Chennai international airport on Thursday.