SC stays executions till October 30 | Daily News

Interim Order against death warrants:

SC stays executions till October 30

The Supreme Court yesterday issued an Interim Order preventing the Commissioner General of Prisons and the Welikada Prison Superintendent from executing any prisoner consequent to a death warrant signed by the President. This Interim Order will be effective until October 30.

The Supreme Court three-judge-bench comprising Justice Buwaneka Aluwihare, Justice Prasanna Jayawardena and Justice E.A.G.A. Amarasekara made this order pursuant to a Fundamental Rights petition filed by Attorney-at-Law Kavindu Hewa Geeganage.

President’s Counsel M.A. Sumanthiran appearing for the petitioner stated there is no disclosed criteria for the execution of convicts served with a death penalty and such lack of guidelines would violate Article 12(1) of the Constitution. He further stated that selection of specific individuals is contrary to the constitution and international norms.

Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle appearing for the Attorney General informed Court that decision to impose death penalty was compliant with existing laws in the country and constitutional provisions are in place to implement it. He maintained that the decision to implement the death penalty would not violate Fundamental Rights guaranteed under the constitution.

Taking into consideration the facts, the Supreme Court decided to issue an Interim Order until October 30. This petition will be taken up again for support on October 29.

Twelve Fundamental Rights petitions have been filed so far in the Supreme Court seeking an Interim Order directing the Commissioner General of Prisons and Welikada Prison Superintendent from executing any prisoner consequent to a death warrant signed by the President.

In addition to this Fundamental Right petition, twelve other petitions had been filed naming Attorney General, Justice Minister, Commissioner General of Prisons, Welikada Prison Superintendent and several others as respondents.

In its petition, the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) stated that it has long been recognised that hanging by death is a cruel and inhuman form of punishment, not befitting a multi religious and civilised society. Though convicts have been sentenced to death, the long recognised practice in Sri Lanka for over 43 years has been that they were not executed.

The CPA reiterates that the implementation of the death penalty at this juncture is a violation of fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 11(Freedom from torture) and under Article 12(1)[ All persons are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection before the law] of the Constitution.

Meanwhile, filing another petition, Attorney-at-Law Kavindu Hewa Geeganage stated that selection of specific individuals to impose the death penalty is arbitrary, unreasonable, and made on no identifiable criteria, and without any justifications for the same.

He argued that purported selection appears to have been carried out contrary to the Law and the Constitution and in particular the proviso to Article 34(1) of the constitution.

The petitioner further stated that purported selection of specific individuals are contrary to international norms and do not meet the relevant threshold for ‘most serious crimes’;

The Petitioner states that the State, in taking steps to carry out such executions in haste has caused rise to a situation of imminent infringement of the condemned prisoners’ rights under Article 11, 12(1), 13(4), 13(6) and 17 of the Constitution.



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