Madurai: The Amnesty International has appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take steps for immediate release of all protesters arrested in connection with the anti-Koodankulam Nuclear plant agitation and drop "false" charges against them.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, a copy of which has been sent to the People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy which has been spearheading the stir, they also appealed to Singh to put an immediate end to the "harassment of those resorting to peaceful protests and respect protestors' rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly in accordance with international law."

Amnesty International members also referred to SP Udhayakumar, PMANE convenor's charge that the Indian authorities had "failed" to respond satisfactorily to several site and safety concerns raised by an independent group of experts.

They expressed "dismay" that officials belonging to the Home Ministry searched Udhayakumar's home and that police had "harassed" shop-keepers who were in solidarity with the protesters.

"The charges against the protesters constitute a deliberate attempt by the authorities to silence them despite the fact that the protests had been peaceful," the letter to the Prime
Minister said.

Amnesty International members who have signed the letter include senior functionary Peter Cattan of Switzerland.

A copy of the letter was released to the press on Saturday.