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* Sri Lanka releases over 1,200 prisoners on National Day
Tue, Feb 4, 2014, 10:33 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 04, Colombo: Sri Lanka Tuesday pardoned 1,233 prisoners under a presidential order to mark the 66th Independence Day.

The Commissioner General of Prisons, G.B. Kulatunga said the prisoners who were convicted of minor offences and jailed for not being able to pay fines were released on a presidential pardon.

The prisoners were released at a function held at the Sports Ground of the Welikada Prison under the patronage of the Minister of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Chandrasiri Gajadeera.

The prisoners were selected from 32 prisons in the island and 39 female prisoners were among the released.

Speaking at the event, the Minister said that loan facilities will be provided to the pardoned prisoners at concessionary interest rates to start self-employments.

Also, a prisons school is being established in Watareka in Homagama which would be opened this month, the Minister said. The school is established to educate youth under 30 years of age who have not received or abandoned formal education and to provide them the opportunity for higher education.

The Minister requested them to contribute to the economic development of the country by starting a livelihood using the skills learnt at the prison.

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