Sri Lanka today said it respects the Indian Supreme Court's ruling that barred Tamil Nadu from freeing seven persons, including two Sri Lankan nationals, convicted for the 1991 assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.
"Whatever our private views may be we have to respect the judicial process. Each country's judicial systems are unique and we need to respect the judiciary," Keheliya Rambukwella, the Minister of Information and the government spokesman said.
Rambukwella was responding to the Supreme Court today barring the Tamil Nadu government from releasing seven people convicted of killing the former prime minister on May 21, 1991 in Sriperumbudur.
The central government in India had challenged Tamil Nadu's authority to grant freedom to three convicts, Murugan, Santhan and A G Perarivalan, who were spared execution yesterday because of an exceptional delay in a decision on their mercy plea.
The apex court had commuted the death sentence of Murugan and Santhan, both Sri Lankan Tamils, and Perarivalan on the grounds of delay of 11 years by the centre in deciding their mercy pleas.
Besides Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan, who earned a major reprieve on February 18 from the apex court which spared them from gallows, Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran are the other four convicts whose release was decided by the Tamil Nadu government.
Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan are currently lodged in the Central Prison, Vellore, in Tamil Nadu and they are in incarceration since 1991. The other four are undergoing life sentences for their roles in the assassination.
Gandhi was murdered by the LTTE in what was believed to be an act of revenge against sending the Indian Peace Keeping Force to Sri Lanka's north and east in July 1987 during the country's civil war.
The LTTE ended up fighting Indian troops who were asked to leave by the then Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1990.