Mahinda Rajapaksa
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.Reuters File

Sri Lanka released the five Indian fishermen convicted for alleged drug trafficking after the Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa pardoned them. They will be arriving India on Thursday afternoon.

The five fishermen from Tamil Nadu – Emerson, P Augustus, R Wilson, K Prasath and J Langlet – will be handed over to Indian officials in Colombo, according to news channels.

Indian High Commission in Colombo said the five fishermen will not have to serve their sentence in India and can go back to their homes.

"Yes, they have been released and handed over to the high commission. They will be sent to India and will not serve their sentence there. We are currently working on the modalities," an Indian high commission spokesperson told the Daily Mirror, according to IANS report.

The news comes days after BJP senior leader Subramanian Swamy tweeted claiming that the five fishermen will be extradited as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rajapaksa spoke on the issue earlier and agreed on a transfer to a jail in India.

"Namo and Rajapaksa spoke on the phone yesterday&agreed to process papers & transfer 5 fishermen convicted to Indian jail. I am vindicated!," Swamy had tweeted.

The fishermen were reportedly taken into custody on 28 November 2011, by the Sri Lankan Navy on charges of drug trafficking. All five of them were rewarded the death sentence by the Colombo High Court.

The Indian government extended consular assistance to the fishermen through the High Commission in Colombo and the Consulate General in Jaffna.

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