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India in touch with Sri Lanka over death penalty to fishermen

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New Delhi, Oct 30:

India is in touch with the Sri Lankan government following the Colombo High Court sentencing five Indian fishermen to death, the external affairs ministry said Thursday.

The five were given the death penalty for alleged drug trafficking.

The fishermen were apprehended Nov 28, 2011, by the Sri Lankan Navy on charges of narcotics smuggling. The Indians have always maintained their innocence.

The Indian government, through the High Commission in Colombo and the Consulate General in Jaffna, has been extending all possible consular assistance to them, external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.

India is fully committed to continue providing all assistance to the fishermen, he said, adding that the fishermen’s lawyers will file an appeal in the next court of appeal within the prescribed 14 days.

“We are also pursuing this matter diplomatically both in New Delhi and in Colombo at senior levels,” he added.

(IANS)