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Over 29,000 prisoners released on Special Presidential Pardon in past 10 years

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During the last 10 years, 29,309 inmates were released under a Special Presidential Pardon, the Government informed Parliament on Tuesday. 

These prisoners were released to mark Independence Day, International Women’s Day, Prisoners Welfare Day, Wesak Poya, Poson Poya, the Esala Perahera and the arrival of Pope Francis.

Lands and Parliamentary Reforms Minister and Chief Government Whip Gayantha Karunathilaka, in response to a question for an oral answer raised by an Opposition lawmaker, said: “These prisoners are released on special terms and agreements. However, no prisoners connected to rape and child abuse were released. However, one prisoner who was serving a sentence for murder was pardoned in 2010.”

Questioning the rationale behind selecting prisoners for a Special Presidential Pardon, Opposition lawmaker Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa from the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna said: “The female prisoner who was pardoned in 2010 was serving a life sentence for killing two women. She is none other than a wife of a former Minister. The Special Presidential Pardon is for a pardon in the event some unfair occurrences took place during the court proceedings.”

In response, former Justice Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said: “The President doesn’t pardon all who are serving sentences for serious crimes. This list is prepared by a special committee comprising state officers and a retired Supreme Court judge. This was the procedure followed in the past.” (AH)


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