“What is the interest of the country he had taken into consideration? To my mind, two sources can reveal this to the Court. Firstly, the former President himself because it is only he who knows as to what he himself has stated in his affidavit” SC quashing Duminda Silva pardon yesterday (17.01.24).
The Affidavit provided by former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to the Supreme Court concerning the case against former MP Duminda Silva, says Rajapaksa denies the insinuation that he granted the pardon due to personal or political affiliation.
According to the Affidavit, Rajapaksa further states that there were medical reports that were tendered to him which stated that Duminda Silva’s medical condition required him to be out of prison.
“I also recall several other representations made to me on various other grounds asking that he be pardoned. I also recall that there were several materials that necessitated his pardon,” the former President further states.
In his affidavit, the former President also says that he acted in the interest of the country.
The Affidavit is part of the judgment delivered by the Supreme Court today to quash the special Presidential Pardon granted to former Parliamentarian Duminda Silva.
The court also directed the Commissioner of Prisons to implement the conviction and sentence against Duminda Silva.
“What is the interest of the country he had taken into consideration? To my mind, two sources can reveal this to the Court. Firstly, the former President himself because it is only he who knows as to what he himself has stated in his affidavit. Secondly, the documentation that the former President would have left in the Presidential Secretariat when he relinquished his office,” the Supreme Court said in its judgement
The Supreme Court judges further said, “None of the documents submitted by the Hon. Attorney General has ever indicated that the granting of the impugned pardon was based on such a reason. Such a basis is not discernible even as an underlying reason. Thus, this position taken up by the former President is not supported either by himself or by the other documentation before this Court. Therefore, I am unable to accept that the former President had acted in the interest of the country when he decided to grant the impugned pardon.”
“The former President has not followed due process when making the decision to grant the impugned pardon; the former President had opted not to adhere to the Hon. Attorney General’s advice; the former President had not at all considered what the law has required him to consider. Thus, I am unable to hold that the former President had exercised his discretion correctly,” Supreme Court judges said
“I have no legal basis or even a factual basis to uphold the decision made by the former President to grant a pardon to the recipient in the instant case. I hold that the said decision is arbitrary, irrational and has been made for the reasons best known to the former President who appears to have not even made any written decision and has not given any reason thereto. Further, no reason can be discerned from any document submitted by Hon. Attorney General as forming part of the record pertaining to the impugned grant of pardon. The Petitioners are therefore entitled to succeed with their petitions.” the Supreme Court judges said in the conclusion of the case.
The decision was announced when the petitions filed by Sumana and Hirunika Premachandra, the wife and daughter of the late MP Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, and Ghazali Hussain, former Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) were taken up for hearing today.
The Colombo High Court imprisoned Silva for life in 2016, over the murder of former MP Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra.
The Presidential Commission appointed to investigate incidents of political victimization had recommended the release of Silva after which former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had granted a special Presidential Pardon in June 2021.
However, the former MP was arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in May 2022 while receiving treatment at the Sri Jayawardenapura Hospital, after the Supreme Court granted leave to proceed with the case against him and later suspended the special Presidential Pardon granted to him. (NewsWire)
Full judgment : FR against DS pardon