When the five-bench apex court unanimously upheld the high court’s verdict of the death penalty for Duminda Silva and his criminal cohorts, his supporters screamed hysterically saying that they will bring “Sir” to the presidency and get their leader released from prison.
Since then there was a relentless campaign by his brother, who is the owner of one of the two privately-owned major media institutions, which played a highly unethical and extremely biased but effective role in getting Gotabaya Rajapaksa elected as President of SL.
There were numerous media reports which indicated that then-candidate GR promised to pardon Duminda Silva in exchange for a massive media campaign and funding for Rajapaksa’s election campaign. Even though these media reports cannot be independently and individually verified, one can logically conclude that this quid pro quo was true due to the behavior of this media company, and the very close relationship between Duminda Silva and the Rajapaksa family with then-Secretary of Defense, GR. The closeness of their relationship is underscored by the fact that Siva was the monitoring MP of the Ministry of Defense when he committed this heinous crime. This led to the opposition candidate, Mr. Sajith Premadasa, publicly saying that he would not let murderers go free to get support from a TV channel.
It was no secret that there were audio recordings of conversations that came to light involving MP Ranjan Ramanayake with key figures related to the case such as the investigating police officer, and one of the high court judges. Both cases were investigated by the police and no evidence of influencing the court decision was found. If the police need more time to investigate this matter further they should do so, and If credible evidence is found, proper legal action must be taken to let the legal system decide whether the murder conviction has been influenced by a 3rd party. Without doing that, the Rajapaksa regime has allowed a rogue media company to propagate a narrative that the murder conviction of Duminda Silva was not just and proper by repeatedly playing unverified, doctored, and edited audio recordings. This narrative is then disseminated by members of the Rajapaksa regime and the Buddhist clergy who appear on this TV channel and talk about how this murder conviction was influenced, giving the impression to the general public that they are in possession of corroborating evidence. It seems that allowing this media circus to continue, the Rajapaksa regime is not at all concerned about making a mockery of the entire justice system of SL.
SL is facing unprecedented financial, social, short term and long-term challenges at this very moment. As high as 20% or more Sri Lankans are at the risk of having downward social mobility from the lower middle class to below the poverty line. Those who already live below the poverty line are at the risk of going into abject poverty; these two groups comprise well over 50% of the entire population. This trend is only exacerbated by the global pandemic, as noted by Dr. David Nabarro of the WHO. It seems that this socioeconomic catastrophe is not the one that keeping the Rajapaksas, imbecilic government MPs, and some similar opposition MPs awake at night; it was Dumimda Silva’s murder conviction. Opposition MP Mano Ganeshan audaciously said in public that he signed the petition to pardon Duminda Silva on humanitarian grounds because Duminda Silva committed this crime while he was intoxicated. He said this as if this was a petty crime, not a quadruple murder. Although he withdrew his signature recently, at the time he signed it, he must have known this whole exercise appears to give cover for the President to do what he wanted to do in the first place.
It is quite evident that a cabal of scoundrels is in control of SL politically, economically, and socially making most Sri Lankans credulous slaves. With their massive ill-gotten gains, they decide who would be elected leaders and who wouldn’t be from the very top position on down. Hopefully, one day those Sri Lankans would be able to unshackle and free themselves to choose the path of individual freedom and equal opportunity regardless of their race, religious beliefs and other differences. If the pardoning of a quadruple murderer would bring SL closer to the dawning of that day, we as the family can take some solace in this painful chain of events.
Asela Premechandra and Sisters
Ajay / November 7, 2020
Releasing a quadruple murderer, Mafia Don, and a drug lord is what Gota means by discipline, good administration, leadership, Viyath Maga, and protecting the Buddhist religion, culture and ethos of this thrice-blessed island. Sadhu … Sadhu … Sadhu …
GATAM / November 8, 2020
This does protect Buddhist philosophy. Remember a Buddhist monk asked Sirisena to release another double murderer and he was released? The killer (was a Buddhist monk) of SWRD screamed “my nation, my culture and my Buddhism” when he shot him. Surely you remember what happened at Wesak 2009 don’t you! So you see the two go hand in hand.
Good Sense / November 8, 2020
As per the rumors or speculation floated at that time, Army Sergeant Ratnayake was pardoned to the extent that he was released and that happened almost as soon as NGR became President (I think 3 months to complete the necessary paper work under an ineffective bureaucracy). Now, nearly one year has gone since the election of President NGR. Speculation was rife even at that time that ARLD Silva too would be pardoned at that time. I am curious to know the cause of this delay. Is it that the speculation in this instance has no substance or is it there are unforeseen complications or is it that the bureaucracy is finding it difficult as to how the file should be completed so that they don’t get caught and as well as to accommodate the wishes of the higher ups?
Whimpy Kid / November 8, 2020
You cannot hold a suspect in custody for ever and ever……..
Prove and sentence or release that is how the law works……….
Raj-UK / November 9, 2020
Agreed but Lawyer Hejaaz Hizbullah & highly commended Police officer Shani Abeysekara have been in custody for months, not to mention others who have offended the current regime in some way, while convicted murderers are pardoned & released,
This is justice SL style.
soma / November 8, 2020
If I become the president the first thing I do is to relinquish this discretionary right to pardon a convicted criminal. For that right puts me in a most uncomfortable bind. Out of so many crminals behind bars for the same crime who deserves my pardon?
old codger / November 9, 2020
You deserve 20 upvotes for that.
sonali / November 9, 2020
It’s a simple question to answer: The murderer who has money and can pay the bribe is one who will get my pardon. The murderer with strong party members’ support is another. Murderers who are close friends of a friend, relatives, neighborhood important thugs, all these will get my pardon. If you are none of these, tough luck.
Whimpy Kid / November 9, 2020
We cannot expect ethical decisions from Sri Lankan Politicians.
They care two hoots about the sentiments of the people who voted for them.
JR s Dharmishta , Gota’s discipline all bull shit.
Only a forign power like China or USA can diciplin our lot.
Noel / November 9, 2020
Duminda had committed murder and should be hanged not release. Is this the wonder of Asia that MR was bragging about?
Lasantha Pethiyagoda / November 10, 2020
I wonder how voters who elect their man or hero will see these if justice is set aside and cronyism and returning favours take precedence? Do these voters care? Do they want justice or is it ok if their man does what he deems to be ok? (so long as it doesn’t affect them, I guess). That is the nature of a backward, unsophisticated and regressive society that will never prosper or advance like many of the countries in the region. On the other hand, how many of these hoi polloi get to see other success stories? All they see on TV news are the scoundrels who scream abuse at each other…
chiv / November 13, 2020
Yes Chokka Malli will soon return to a “NEW” disciplined and lawful nation???? He dosent need the splendor and prosperity, all he needs is more time to enjoy what he already has amazed, through drugs and other illegal contracts.