Dec 15, Colombo: A Sri Lankan election monitoring group today charged the ruling party, United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) of using prisons inmates to assist election campaign activities.
The Campaign for Free and Fair Election (CaFFE) says the ruling party is using the prisoners to build stages, carry out decorations and engage in other activities requiring labor for the election campaign.
The election watchdog says the prisoners dressed in blue jumpsuits similar to prison clothing have been bussed to campaign rallies to engage them in construction work that required for campaign rallies.
The CaFFE said 44 prisoners of the Galle Prison have been brought to erect the stage at the UPFA campaign rally held in Kamburupitiya, Matara on Sunday (December 14).
In photos released by the poll monitor, men dressed in blue jumpsuits are seen walking the streets carrying construction material and President's cut outs and posters.
The poll monitor said that in addition to using prisoners for labor, a large amount of prison resources have been used for the President's election campaign. A bus, labeled as Prison Band was used for the Kamburupitiya UPFA election rally in addition to other vehicles, the group charged.
The corruption watchdog, Transparency International Sri Lanka has written to the Elections Commissioner regarding misuse of state resources in the election campaigning activities of President Rajapaksa.