The Union Ministry of External Affairs is working with the Sri Lankan government for an agreement on transfer of sentenced prisoners.

Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor said this in a letter to Kozhikode-based Sunni leader Kanthapuram A.P. Aboobacker Musliyar who had sought his intervention regarding release of Indian prisoners held in Sri Lanka.

Dr. Tharoor said the Indian prisoners in Sri Lanka were those convicted of serious offences or under trial for crimes such as drug trafficking.

“They cannot be summarily released and sent back to India. Either their sentence period has to end, or if under trial, they would need to be acquitted by the court.”

He said the Ministry was hopeful of concluding an agreement on transfer of the prisoners within a reasonable time.

“As and when this happens, Indians serving jail terms in Sri Lanka could be sent back to complete their jail terms in India.”

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