Ousted Lanka president Rajapaksa summoned in court over presidential pardon to murder convict

Sri Lanka’s ousted President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was issued a notice by the country’s Supreme Court seeking a presidential pardon for a former lawmaker from his party convicted of killing a party colleague in 2011.

Press Trust of India

Colombo,Updated: Nov 24, 2022 17:37 IST

Gotabaya Rajapakse is speaking on the mic

Sri Lanka’s ousted president Gotabaya Rajapaksa. (Photo: Reuters/File)

By Press Trust of India: The Supreme Court on Thursday issued a notice to ousted Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa seeking a presidential pardon for a former lawmaker from his party convicted of killing a party colleague in 2011.

Rajapaksa, who pardoned Duminda Silva–a former member of parliament from his Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party, has been issued a second summons since he left office in July this year.

Silva, who was sentenced to death in 2011 for his involvement in the murders of a party colleague and former MP, Bharat Laxman Premchandra and four others, was released in June 2021 after Rajapakse granted him a presidential pardon.

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However, in May this year, the Supreme Court overturned the amnesty and ordered Silva’s re-arrest.

Premchandra is expected to appear as a respondent in the Supreme Court on December 16 to hear a fundamental rights petition filed by his wife and daughter.

Similarly, in mid-October, the Supreme Court issued a summons to him to appear in court in connection with the 2011 disappearance of two rights activists, Lalith Weeraraj and Koogan Murugananthan, from Uttar Pradesh.

The disappearance happened 12 years ago after the end of the country’s long civil war when Rajapaksa was a powerful official in the Ministry of Defense chaired by his elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa.

At the time, he was charged with overseeing kidnapping squads that whisked away rebel suspects, critical journalists and activists, many of them never to be seen again.

He has earlier denied any wrongdoing.

Also read: Acting President of Sri Lanka declares a state of emergency, Singapore wants Gotabaya to leave 5 points

Rajapaksa, 73, was ousted in a popular coup against him in July this year after street protests called for his resignation.

He fled to the Maldives in mid-July and announced his resignation from Singapore.

In early September, he returned home from Thailand.

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