Sri Lanka: Supreme Court Summons Ex-President Over Army Sergeant’s Release

Supreme Court Orders Former President Rajapaksa to Justify Release of Convicted Army Sergeant

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Mahinda Rajapaksa and Gotabaya Rakapaksa, brothers served as President of Sri Lanka [ File Photo of Sri Lanka Guardian]

The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka has issued a notice to former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, demanding his explanation regarding the release of Army Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake, who had been sentenced to death by the Colombo High Court.

Ratnayake’s conviction dates back to 2000, when he was found guilty of the heinous killing of eight displaced civilians, including a five-year-old child, in the Mirisuvil area of Jaffna. The incident, which stirred considerable controversy, highlighted the brutalities of the civil conflict and brought international scrutiny on Sri Lanka’s human rights record.

The Supreme Court’s order came in response to a fundamental rights petition filed by Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, the Executive Director of the Center for Policy Alternative (CPA). The petition challenges the legality and appropriateness of Ratnayake’s release, which was sanctioned by President Rajapaksa during his tenure.

A bench comprising Justices Yasanta Kodagoda and Achala Vengappuli reviewed the petition, prompting the issuance of the notice. This move indicates the court’s willingness to re-examine executive decisions that potentially undermine judicial rulings and impact the country’s commitment to justice and human rights.

Former President Rajapaksa is now required to present his case before the court, detailing the rationale behind his decision to grant clemency to Ratnayake. The decision to release Ratnayake had previously drawn significant criticism from various human rights organizations and activists, who viewed it as a setback for justice and accountability in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka Guardian

The Sri Lanka Guardian is an online web portal founded in August 2007 by a group of concerned Sri Lankan citizens including journalists, activists, academics and retired civil servants. We are independent and non-profit. Email: editor@slguardian.org

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