COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – A Sri Lankan deputy cabinet minister Thursday acknowledged that prisons give special privileges to politicians and other ‘distinguished’ persons not accorded to ordinary citizens, saying it was unfair and must be changed.
"It is unfair," declared Eran Wickramaratne, Deputy Minister of Highways, Higher Education and Investment Promotion
"It will not cost much to improve the conditions in our prisons."
He was replying to a question on whether special privileges had been given to Basil Rajapaksa, former minister of economic development, in the ousted Rajapaksa regime who was remanded Wednesday and was promptly put up in the prison hospital.
Wickramaratne said the practice of imprisoned politicians, parliamentarians and ‘distinguished’ people being transferred to prison hospital instead of a cell was common and unfair.
"When ordinary citizens are imprisoned they go to jail, not the prison hospital. I propose that at least now we improve prison facilities so that ordinary prisoners are treated better, not only politicians."
Basil Rajapaksa, the brother of ousted president Mahinda Rajapaksa was remanded after hours of questioning by the police financial fraud unit.
Rajapaksa has been accused of massive misuse of government funds to support the January presidential polls campaign of his brother which the latter lost.
Wickramaratne said it would not cost much to provide more and better toilets for prisoners and what was lacking was political will.