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He has been in jail since his arrest on July 28, 1987 in connection with a murder case. He was convicted and sentenced to life in November 1997.
Mathaiyan has alleged discrimination on the part of the Tamil Nadu government and said it granted remission to other prisoners who had served at least 20 years of actual imprisonment, in terms of a government order dated November 10, 1994.
On July 28, 2007, when the state government released hundreds of prisoners serving life sentence in exercise of its remission powers, his case was not considered for eligibility, he said.