SB’s pardon and parole in political muddle
By Santhush Fernando
The controversy over the fate of the jailed UNP national organizer S.B. Dissanayake has taken new twists and turns. While Parliament Secretary General has informed the Elections Commissioner that Mr. Dissanayake has forfeited his seat and the next on the list should be named, charges and counter-charges are being flung around over Mr. Dissanayake’s appeal for parole. UNP parliamentarian Mahinda Wijesekera who heads a committee campaigning for Mr. Dissanayake’s release, charged there was some foul play to sabotage the parole plea made to the Appeals Board.

Under parole laws, any prisoner serving a term of two years or more could appeal for parole after completing two-thirds of the sentence and Mr. Dissanayake is eligible for this in April.

Appeal Board Chairman, former Court of Appeal Judge Hector S. Yapa said the board had not taken up Mr. Dissanayake’s case but declined further comment. Deputy Justice Minister Dilan Perera and Ministry Secretary Suhada Gamalath denied Mr. Wijesekera’s charges that Mr. Dissanayake’s appeal had been sabotaged. But they did not give reasons as to why his case was not considered.

Mr. Wijesekera in a letter to President Mahinda Rajapakse charged that Mr. Dissanayake’s appeal had been forwarded to the chairman of the Appeals Board but the chairman had not put it to the board due to some political pressure.

But Deputy Minister Perera denied this charge, saying all members of the Appeals Board were former judges and there were no political appointees.
Meanwhile a controversy has also arisen over an appeal made in this regard to the Supreme Court. Mr. Wijesekera said although a petition was filed, the registrar of the court had informed the Secretary General of Parliament that there were no such petition filed. Thus the Secretary General had informed the Elections Commissioner that Mr. Dissanayake’s seat was vacant.

Mr. Wijesekera said he was surprised by President Rajapakse’s move to refer the matter of a Presidential pardon to the Supreme Court.

He said such a reference was not in keeping with the Constitution and the court had referred the matter back saying it could not give an opinion relating to a person it had convicted.

Top  Back to News  

Copyright © 2001 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved.