Written by Staff Writer
11 Nov, 2019 | 8:46 pm
Colombo (News 1st): President Maithripala Sirisena says that requests made by many parties and many other factors were considered when deciding to grant a presidential pardon to Shramantha Jude Anthony Jayamaha who was convicted for the Rajagiriya Royal Park murder.
The President issued a media release clarifying these facts in detail. The release issued by the Presidential Secretariat states that MP Venerable Athuraliye Rathana Thero coordinated and spearheaded the matters on granting the presidential pardon. The release said that the Thero had also submitted a written request to the President regarding this.
Venerable Baddegama Samitha Thero the Second Judicial Sanganayaka of Southern Sri Lanka, Venerable Keradewala Pungnarathana Thero, and Rt. Rev. Dr. Raymond K. Wickremesinghe the Bishop of Galle had also informed the President that a presidential pardon to an educated self rehabilitated prisoner will receive their blessing.
The Presidential secretariat stated that the submissions made by lawyers, a retired judge and members of the convicts family were also considered.
Speaking regarding this JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake noted that they are also internationally isolated in this incident because the victim was a Swedish citizen. He noted that this has harmed the reputation of the country in the international arena. The main question he posed was why the President decide to do this. He questioned if this is because of a relationship or is it because he has made an alliance with Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Ratnayake noted that they know Mahinda Rajapaksa provided the presidential pardon to a lot of people. He questioned if this was also done based on a request that was made. He said the people are also talking about a financial transaction that has taken place. The parliamentarian noted that if the Pardon is given there should be a number of people who should be selected by following a certain mechanism and this is being spoken of in the legal field as well.
He went onto note that the President once said that he would implement the death penalty but he has now released a convict found guilty for a heinous murder, beyond a reasonable doubt, in a court of law. He said there is a danger in this when this is done during the run-up to a presidential election. Ratnayake said this will also set a precedent for the newly elected president.
Meanwhile, Non-cabinet Minister Ajith P. Perera noted that the constitution has listed out the procedure that should be followed by the President before granting a presidential pardon. He said a report should be called from the judge who handed down the verdict and a report should be called from the Attorney General and the Minister of Justice. He noted that this can be done after all of that. He pointed out that there is a very bad precedent set when these procedures are not followed. Perera noted that it is a known fact that there are election promises regarding granting a presidential pardon to convicts in the recent past. He stressed that this could be Pillayan or anyone else. Therefore he said this is a huge issue concerning the rule of law in this country.
UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra commenting on the release noted that it is very disappointing to see a murderer being granted the Presidential Pardon. She stated that this is a selfish decision and not a presidential pardon. She went onto note that there is a group of people who are on the list to be released on a presidential pardon. He said the brother of the owner of a media channel, murdered her father and according to the way that things are going now even he will be granted a presidential pardon. She said if that happens she is sad only because this would mean that the lady justice is being disrobed by none other than the president of this country.
Meanwhile, 2 inmates of the Welikada prison began a protest atop the roof of the prison complex. They launched the protest at 8 AM today (November 11). The two inmates are protesting against the release of Jude Anthony Jayamaha the death row inmate who was found guilty of murder.
They demand that the procedure of granting a presidential pardon be reviewed.
The Presidential Secretariat stated the decision to release Jude Anthony was taken after considering a report by the prisons department on his behavior and reports submitted by several other state institutions.
The Presidential secretariat states that as he is person who has been rehabilitated and he has not been found guilty of any wrongdoing during the imprisoned period, and considering that he has an ability to serve the country as a good citizen and in other countries too such amnesty is given to prisoners, the President had decided to pardon Shramantha Jude Anthony Jayamaha.
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