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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Rauff ready to convey pardon plea

Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem said today he would consider appealing to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to pardon former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka if such a request was made by Mr. Fonseka’s family members.

Mr. Hakeem told parliament a procedure had to be followed in securing a pardon for Mr. Fonseka.

“For me to act in this regard, a request should be made by his family members  If such a request is made, I will definitely consider it,” he said.

The minister was responding to United National Party (UNP) MP Lakshman Kiriella who asked Mr. Hakeem to request the President to do so.

Mr. Kiriella said Mr. Fonseka led the military to a crushing defeat of the LTTE but today he was a political prisoner. He said the entire world acknowledged that Mr. Fonseka was a political prisoner.

At this stage Mr. Kiriella was heckled by some ruling party members including deputy minister Lalith Dissanayake. They referred to a statement made by Mr. Kiriella during the conflict that any fool could wage war.

Mr. Kiriella responded saying the government had been accused of war crimes today because the war was waged in a foolish manner.

“You have to face war crime allegations since you waged war in a foolish manner. Had it been carried out in the proper manner, such international allegations could have been avoided,” he said.

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said the prison ordinance did not provide for the detention of a former Army Commander as a political prisoner. (Kelum Bandara and Yohan Perera)



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