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Sri Lanka court permits death row inmate Jayasekara to come to Parliament

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

ECONOMYNEXT – The Court of Appeal has issued an interim order permitting convicted murderer Premalal Jayasekara to attend Parliamentary sittings.

The interim order directing the Commissioner-General of Prisons to make arrangements for Jayasekara to attend Parliament was issued by the President of the Court of Appeal Justice A H M D Nawaz and Justice Sobhitha Rajakaruna today, Sept 7.

Jayasekara who is on death row had filed a Writ petition before the Court of Appeal asking for relief.

Last month the Attorney-General Dappula de Livera ruled that Jayasekara is “unsuitable to either sit in Parliament or vote in the House.”

The opinion was issued after the Commissioner General of Prisons asked the Ministry of Justice to obtain an opinion from the AG following 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 received over 130,000 preferential votes and came second in the district at the elections.

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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.

(Colombo September 7, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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