12 June, 2024


Public Has A Right To Know If Duminda’s Pardon Was Constitutional: BASL

The presidential pardon granted to murder convict Duminda Silva would be “unreasonable and arbitrary” unless six conditions were fulfilled in deciding on his release, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka said in a statement that was issued soon after the controversial decision by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was announced.

Saliya Pieris PC President, BASL

Silva became the second murderer on death row President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has pardoned. The Ex-MP and Gotabaya loyalist was released on Poson full moon poya day. Death row prisoners at the Mahara and Welikada prisons have launched a hunger strike over the President’s decision to pardon the VIP prisoner.

The BASL said it had written to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa requesting him to clarify the basis on which Silva had been selected for the purpose of granting a pardon. In a letter to President Rajapaksa, the BASL asked the head of state to reveal the circumstances taking into consideration in granting the pardon, whether a report was called for by the President from trial judges as required by the constitution, and the contents of that report, whether the advice of the Attorney General was sought before the pardon was granted and whether the recommendation of the minister of justice was obtained before the decision was made to released Silva.

SLFP trade union leader Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra was murdered by Duminda Silva in October 2011

“It is the right of the public to know whether the said pardon has been granted in accordance with the report of the trial judges, the opinion of the attorney general, and the recommendation of the minister of justice,” the BASL said in its statement after Silva’s controversial release.

Duminda Silva’s pardon would result in “erosion to the rule of law and result in a loss of public confidence in respect of the administration of justice” unless all of the conditions stipulated in its letter had been satisfied, the BASL said.

BASL noted that while Article 34 (1) of the constitution gives the President power and discretion to pardon convicts, that power must not be exercised arbitrary and selectively.

Silva was convicted for the 2011 murder of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and four others by a High Court Trial at Bar in 2016. In 2018, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court heard Silva’s appeal and ratified the Trial-At-Bar determination that Silva was guilty of murder and upheld the death sentence.

Duminda Silva served as the monitoring MP for the Ministry of Defence when President Mahinda Rajapaksa was in office. Current President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was Secretary to the Ministry at the time, and Silva’s close associate.

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said the pardon granted to Duminda Silva weakens the rule of law and undermines accountability.

Justifying his uncle’s decision to pardon a murderer on death row, Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa said that a “great injustice” was done to Duminda Silva during the previous Government. He said that was evident by the leaked recordings of former SJB MP Ranjan Ramanayake, who is serving his own prison sentence for contempt of court. Namal Rajapaksa claimed that there was a lot of “criticism” in the country regarding the judgment given to Duminda Silva. His release was a “positive development,” the nephew Rajapaksa asserted. he Minster said.

We publish below the full statement of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka:

BASL statement on the presidential pardon granted to murder convict Duminda Silva on June 24, 2021



Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 18

    The public will never know. The BASL will never know. The letter will not be acknowledged. The same questions were asked from Sirisena when he pardoned the murderer Jayamaha. There was no response. Namal’s comments are worthy of consideration whether as a lawyer himself he has displayed contempt for the highest court.

  • 19

    Constitution is irrelevent when close friends and associates are involved.

  • 18

    Didn’t Mr.Sircular warn you that his verbal orders are to be taken as constitution . On this matter Gotha was advised by the Lankan Renown constipation expert with a permanent grimace faced GLP and colleagues of yours MR , NR, AG – – – – .

  • 19

    Gota is beginning to realise his time may well be running out. So even if the country goes to hell, he has to honour the deals he made with his loyal enforcers before he loses power. Also, as a good Buddhist, you cannot go terribly wrong in practicing compassion during the Poson season.

  • 15

    Welcome BASL on your forthright statement. But don’t expect the Presiden to answer your questions. Instead file an application under the RTI Act with the President’s Office, Minister of Justice, etc to seek information and/or file a fundamental right petition against the President under relevant provisions of the Constitution and other laws.

  • 23

    “Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa said that a “great injustice” was done to Duminda Silva during the previous Government.”

    Now does it make sense when people say that Namal was in a special room with computer and he dint really write the exam.

    This guy was first convicted and then lost the appeal. Isn’t what this fool says way worse than what Ranjan said?.

  • 16

    Does Duminda still have the right to carry fire arms too…….

    Before long Sri Lanka will be a wild west

    or Wild South

    ” Ane ape Dharmadweepaya’

  • 21

    Public has right to know it, but do the public want to know it actually ? Public would not change their pattern of thinking – beyond SLAVE MIND SET- even if their lovely ones would have been caught by the abusive law and order. Elephant is in the room, but nobody cares much about it…… the situation is appalling…. professionals and all those who have let alone a little brain should wake up from their long slumber and fight to get rid of rascal politics. That can pave the way for a better future.

    What is transparent today under double-pakshe govt ? And nobody questions it louder either. Not even 5% of the population is fully vaccinated yet in SRLANKA. Cost of living is on a rise as no times in the past.

    They grabed the power by miseading the vulnerable. Vulnerable that dont know the facts well.

    Their tricks on the same audience are more or less like fishing on muddy waters. Unhearted beginning showed more signs about their brutal intentions.
    Wthin the last 15 months they have proved their capablities. Today, not even a single country in developed world would trust them. Nor would they allow any loans to srilanka so long basic human rights of the people would not be safeguraded. JAIKA or IMF would not help srilanka anyfurther.

  • 24

    If I were HIRUNIKA, I would have filed a case against this release. The level of injustice served to the vicitimzed parties is beyond estimation. So is the case with Thajudeen killers. They are leaders in today s context. Victimized parties have no space to see due justice so long the highly corrupted law and order systems are in place. People s voice – one could say, one and only – honourable MP Ranjan Ramanayake is being jailed for having said, … courts and court decisions are highly biased and corrupted. All these are public secret. But peoples have no right to protest because the criminals in power would take revenge on them. Criminals work closely together with media mafia men. Duminda Silva is the brother of HIRU TV owner,…. that TV channel fed loads of untruths about PREVIOUS govt paving the way Rajapakshe to return power.

    Divine forces over to you, please save this nation from RAJAPAKSHE MAFIA politics !!!

    • 3

      I was told that Hirnika could appeal to US courts and get some sort of justice where some could be served with a red notice.
      This pardoning of any convicted killer is truly shocking I heard the international community is so concerned about the HR records of the third world will keep an eye on these cases. Leaders of these countries just can’t hide behind the country’s sovereignty while eroding severely the sovereign rights of the innocent people. They say the emerging lawless countries undermine the well being of the whole world and they will act on it..I was just speaking to a powerful politican,met by chance and expressed his shock over this pardon.He also said that one of his top minister was honourable enough to resign for a very minor act while politicians in third world is getting away with murder.

      • 3

        How can that be possible? She is not a dual citizen to US. THE UNANIMOUS MLECHCHA ACT OF NANDASENA PROVEED AGAIN THAT WE ARE A BANNANA REPUBLIC WHERE ONLY JUNGLE LAW IN ACTION. I COULD BRCOME A BOME IF THIS WOULD BEEN TO ONE OF MY LOVRLY ONCE. Srilanka has no future so long Rajapakshes are alive. That can well be defined as “Rajapakshe TERROR” 😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎

  • 16

    The conditions for the release as listed out by the BASL are…………

    a] Report from the Trial Judges.
    Judges are now famous to recuse themselves……
    b] Advice of the AG.
    The AG was appointed just the other day and he took his oaths before the President.
    Asking too much……
    c] Recommendation of the Minister of Justice.
    Ali Sabri ?……..

    The President would have thought that it is infra dig for him to follow such procedure.?

    Well then this is why Srilanka should now be listed out as a FAILED STATE!

  • 9

    Hope.he goes to Kandy and get blessed and sue the judges,or do it his own way,

    • 10

      My dear CUGAN,
      this is a country, you are compelled to see high criminals wear ” pirith noole”, pirith chanted blesssing bands around their wrists, some in a thick manner as we never got to see it few decades ago. Look at the most known high criminal none other than ” MAHINDHA RAJAPAKSHE”…. he has been wearing all various kind of pirith noole as no other would do. These men are ultra-hypocrites… to the very same easy targets. Both gullible and the crook politicians are similar to existence of a GARBAGE dumps. Garbage dumps of a developing country would never be removed since its existence is very important for the survival of some portions in such socieities.
      All these are very much known to anyone with some SANITY… however criminals and highly corrupted men are repeatedly elected…. now all what we can say is ” good riddance”… is not that so ?

  • 19

    OK, so the judges, including those of the appeal court, were wrong & a great injustice was corrected because of a day of religious significance in this Buddhist country. What about Hijaz, Shani, & countless others who are banged without charge or stitched up for displeasing regime?

    Has the BASL got the balls to stand up for their independence & integrity when carrying out their duties? Are all political parties & the mases going to say enough to injustice & the abuse of power?

  • 16

    Well done, Sri Lanka President.

    Now, jail the criminals who didn’t wear the masks – they are the real murderers.

    What a beautiful Buddhist country!

    • 8


      “What a beautiful Buddhist country!”

      Come again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 19


  • 19

    What is the right the public has on the issue of Gotabaya’s release of Duminda after giving all their rights to Gotabaya to do whatever he wants to do? Gotabaya himself released from all Court charges on corruption and murders. Poor Namal gave a speech in parliament after 18 years rule that Tamil Prisoners should be released and Gota released few of them with Duminda. He will now say I released LTTE terrorists and why can’t I release my friend who killed some one for joke. Sri Lanka is a joke!

  • 12

    If the bar association wants a reply from the President then it is daydreaming for chances are that the letter would be just idling in one of the files if not the waste paper basket. Since the bar association is raising a constitutional issue, and the sole interpreter of the Constitution is the Supreme Court, why not raise this issue in the Court itself through a suitable petition. As long as it does not, it may appear that it is sabre rattling as a part of the an opposition political campaign and thereby demeaning its standing in the public. I trust there is another case questioning the pardon by the former President MS.

  • 14

    old codger, nimal fernando, Sinhala_man, ……………… all good souls,
    Please listen to this deranged man,

    He is talking about LTTE.
    How does quoting LTTE , and how they won terrorism going to solve the Corvid 19 problem?
    Thissa Vitharana has advised this deranged psychopath that Shavandra is not capable of dealing with pandemic.

    There is another issue that government demanding/spending funds without a supporting law.
    Please listen last 5 minutes of this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sZHss1K6gc&t=57s.

  • 13

    I am not sure how Gota can justify this ? other than by saying I can so I did. it is very unfortunate and I am just disgusted.

    • 8

      a14455 / June 26, 2021
      Anichchawatha sankara to our nation.
      How can u and like ilk ever grasp it? We articulated it as no others former high criminal s returned to power not to serve the nation but to get exonerated from all various crime investigations against the brutal siblings, offspring and their henchmen. Travesty of justice is not overlooked today as no times in any times so far. Gota, Mara, Basil, Nsmal and all in that family should be punished for all high crimes not allowing free move. Then only we can feel atleast some justice is served to this nation 😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😀😀😀😀😀

  • 22

    I just read “Derek Chauvin sentencing: Ex-Minneapolis cop sentenced to 22.5 years in prison in murder of George Floyd”
    If Derek Chauvin had been born Sri Lankan, our President would have pardoned him. Too bad for him he was not lucky enough to be born Sri Lankan. He could have had a field day in Mullivaikal killing minorities without even being charged.

    Funny thing about BASl is they are very good when general Sri Lankan rights are at stake. But they are silent on Tamil rights. They are a bunch of communalists. Remember when the Mullivaikal UN report came, BASL condemned it based on news reports even before it was out.

    Saliya Pieris must set this right.

    • 1

      well just wait and see if Trump comes back to office. he forgave straight out murdering marines.

    • 2

      Jaffna Aiya,

      USA and the West is to blame for the Mullivaikal debacle.
      The West should not interfere in internal matters of sovereign nations.

      Iraq, Libiya, Siriya, Afganistan all situations that could have been avoided if not for US , Western, Russian interfearence..

      Who supplies arms to these waring factions the WEST, Russia, Ukrain, China, Israel….

      This is only a Political , Economic game for these buggers.

      International Power Play

      Interference by outsiders costs lives….

    • 4

      “If Derek Chauvin had been born Sri Lankan, our President would have pardoned him.”

      And it won’t end there he would have become a chairmen of a state Corporation or sent out of the country as a diplomat to represent the Supreme race of the sinhala bauda state. 😂

    • 9

      We see the same hypocrisy with sri lankan feminists also.
      They are always looking for incidents among the general public in places like colombo where men supposedly behaved inappropriately towards women.
      But mention a word about the armed forces misbehaving with tamil women in the NE and even molesting underage children, and all of a sudden ‘thats all LTTE propaganda’
      Even when the UN admitted that sri lankan soldiers representing their troops in haiti were caught running child prostitution rings (twice), most lankans back home either ignored it or claimed the tamil diaspora paid the UN to defame their troops.

  • 5

    Yes Jaffna Man, Derek Chauvin goes in for 22 years ( more time than what was expected 10 to 15 years) where as death sentenced murderer Duminda is set free.

  • 8

    The election commissioner should BAN fire arms in election campaigns – The President , AGs department should give full authority to the police to enforce this.

    Can we get Mr Bharatha Lakshman back to life?

    Mr Nalanda Ellawala , and so many others have been robbed of their lives because of this thuggery and practice of carring fire arms by political goons.

    This Ugly practice should END.

    • 2

      Dear Whimpy Kid:

      While the ban will have to be enforced by the government itself, as it’s outside of the purview of the EC, can’t trust the authorities to enforce such a ban diligently, certainly not under the current administration.

      Like many other unlawful acts of the state and its authorities that go unpunished, we can even expect the authorities to collaborate in such crimes in-spite of such a ban.

  • 4

    Thank you BASL for taking up this case. Along with Duminda Silva, there were “THREE” others who were “Convicted” and awarded the same punishment. Are they not “Entitle” to be “Pardoned”? There were another “13 LTTE” carders who were “Convicted” and “Pardoned” on the same day (Poson Poya).

    Apart from those “Convicted” and “Pardoned”, there are “Hundreds” of “Tamil” youths jailed for years without being indicted of any crimes. Aren’t they “Entitle” to be “Released” or “Indicted” and informed of the “Charges” against them? Then there are “Thousands” who are in Jails, merely because they are “Unable” to pay the “fines” imposed upon them. Shouldn’t they be “Pardoned” on “Poson Poya” day by the “Sinhala Buddhist” President? Isn’t it more “Merritoroius” than observing “SIL” at Madamulana and singing “Bhakti Geetha”?

    Incidentally, I would like to remind you of the speech made by Minister Namal Rajapakse days before this “Pardoning Stage Play”. He appealed to the Minister of Justice (who was present in Parliament) to “Release” the “LTTE” convicted youths but failed to mention all others (Tamil) youths who are in jail even without being informed of charges. Who speaks for them?

    • 2

      Dear Simon:
      In solidarity with your call for justice for the thousands of Tamils, mostly youth when taken in, being detained without charges indefinitely, almost all for decade or longer.

      Even those who have been charged should be tried in a court of law within reasonable time frame, which has long elapsed.

      We should also be reminded that many who were taken in and held without charges have long disappeared and are now statistics under state enforced disappearances.

      I also note here that a quite a few international as well as local news have reported that the 16 pardoned LTTE suspects were also held without charges (and therefore, could not have been convicted) while others report them as “convicted” LTTE suspects!!!

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 5 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.