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Murder convict Premalal Jayasekara cannot sit in Parliament or vote in the House – AG

DEATH SENTENCE – SLPP candidate in Ratnapura Premalal Jayasekara sentenced to death for 2015 murder

ECONOMYNEXT – Premalal Jayasekara the convicted murderer who was elected to Parliament from the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna in the Ratnapura district is “unsuitable to either sit in Parliament or vote in the House,” the Attorney General has ruled, a statement from the AG’s office said.

Jayasekara received over 130,000 preferential votes and came second in the district at the elections.

The opinion was issued after the Commissioner General of Prisons asked the Ministry of Justice to obtain an opinion from the AG Dappula de Livera subsequent to a request from the Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene to bring Jayasekara to Parliament to be sworn in.

The statement issued by the AG’s spokeswoman Nishara Jayaratne said that the Prisons had said there was no law guiding them on the matter in the Prison laws.

The AG’s statement said that under the law, even though Jayasekara has appealed his sentence only the carrying out of the death sentence is stayed and he remains a convict.

According to section 91(1) of the Constitution, any person disqualified under section 89 (d) cannot contest elections or even vote as his civil rights are lost when under a death sentence.

The Speaker in a statement to Parliament under pressure from the government benches last week, said he had communicated to the Commissioner-General of Prisons that Jayasekara should be brought to Parliament.

Jayasekara, a leading SLPP politician, was given the death sentence by the Ratnapura High Court just days before the elections for the murder of United National Party supporter Shantha Dodangoda during the 2015 Presidential Campaign.

Two other men were injured when Jayasekara and others opened fire.

Jayasekara, also known as “Choka Malli,” was the former Deputy Minister for Power and Energy and before that Deputy Minister of Mahaweli Development.

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A former Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman, Jayasekara was an MP in the recently dissolved Parliament.

He has been in Parliament since 2001 and is 47-years old.

Civil Society groups including the eminent Friday Forum had castigated the SLPP for nominating Jayasekara.

“The fact that a person accused of a serious crime is on bail does not make him eligible for nomination,” the Forum wrote in a media statement released earlier this week. (Colombo August 31, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana