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P’ment receives copies of three petitions filed on Death Penalty Bill


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Parliament received copies of three petitions filed at the Supreme Court under Article 121(1) of the Constitution in respect of the Bill entitled Abolition of Death Penalty, the Deputy Speaker and the Chair of Committees J. M. Ananda Kumarasiri informed the House yesterday. 

United National Party (UNP) MP Bandula Lal Bandarigoda was granted leave to move his controversial bill in Parliament on 1 August to abolish the death penalty and to make consequential provisions. Moving the Bill, MP Bandarigoda challenged President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to execute four prisoners on death row before the end of his term. MP Bandarigoda’s Bill proposes the Parliament converts capital punishment into life imprisonment.

The Bill cited Abolition of Death Penalty Act proposes any reference in any law to the imposition of the death penalty or punishment by death, from and after the coming of the Act be construed as punishment by imprisonment for life. As per the transitional provisions, it is proposed that any person in respect of whom a sentence of death has been imposed prior to the coming into force of the particular Act be deemed to be a person sentenced to imprisonment for life in respect of such offence. Any person who has committed, prior to the coming into force of the Act an offence punishable with death, but in respect of whom a sentence of punishment has not been imposed by the court, shall be deemed to have committed an offence punishable with imprisonment for life. According to MP Bandarigoda, the President has violated the first of the five precepts; undertake the rule to abstain from killing any living being, by deciding to start the gallows, which was abandoned for over four decades. The Bill was referred to the Minister of Justice and Prison Reforms to report to Parliament under Standing Order 52 (6) of the Parliament. (AH)


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