The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) said yesterday President Maithripala Sirisena had no judicial power to pick out four convicts to be executed when there were many others on death row.
SLPP Chairman G.L. Peiris said there were more than a hundred people serving life imprisonment for drug trafficking and asked how the President had picked out four convicts – one woman and three men to be singled out for execution.
“How can you pick four people from dozens of people? Is it a matter of chance or coincidence or for political reasons? The President has no judicial power. This is why the SC intervened suspending executions until October 30. The country is convinced that these are just dramas,” he said.
Prof. Peiris said the Justice Ministry has carried out a detailed review of the process of execution when Sirimavo Bandaranaike was Prime Minister and Felix Dias Bandaranaike was Justice Minister.
“I saw these documents when I was the Justice Minister. I don’t know what happened to it since then. The main recommendations were that when a person is sentenced to death, first you called for a report from the presiding trial judge asking whether the death penalty should be carried out in all circumstances of the case. Then, there is a second report from the Attorney General.
If both these reports or one of these reports recommended that the death penalty should not be carried out, that is the end of the matter and the death sentence should be commuted to life imprisonment. If both of them recommend that there are aggravating circumstances and the sentence should be carried out then the reports should be sent to the Justice Minister and the Minister is expected to launch an independent investigation into the circumstances and make a final recommendation to the President,” he said. (Lahiru Pothmulla)