By Kelum Bandara
During yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, President Maithripala Sirisena defended his decision to pardon Jude Shramantha Jayamaha who was convicted of murdering a Swedish girl some 14 years ago.
Jude, convicted in the Royal Park murder case, reportedly walked out of prison following a presidential pardon.
In his address to the Cabinet, President Sirisena said the convict was only 19 years old when he was subjected to death sentence and that the conduct of the prisoner was satisfactory at the moment. “He had completed bachelor studies and now preparing to pursue doctoral education,” he said.
President scotched speculation that he received money from the convict’s family to grant him pardon. He asserted that he considered pardon after consulting respective judges.
According to the Constitution, the President has authority to grant pardon or remit the jail term of any convict. In case of a death row prisoner, the President has to seek a report from the judge who tried the case and forward it to the Attorney General (AG) with instructions. The AG, with his opinion, should then forward it to the Justice Minister. Later, the minister refers it to the President.
The President said he received the report from the judge concerned and acted accordingly.
Many religious leaders, former Supreme Court Judges, lawyers, civil society leaders and youth leaders have made representations to President Maithripala Sirisena, recommending granting a sympathetic consideration to the appeal for granting Presidential pardon to 34-year old Don Shramantha Jude Anthony Jayamaha, who is serving a life imprisonment on the murder taken place at Royal Park, Rajagiriya.
Ven Athraliye Rathana Thero, Member of Parliament, played a key role and coordinated in obtaining Presidential pardon for this youth and he has brought the parents and close relations of the youth to meet the President and give a lengthy explanation of the background.
Ven Rathana Thero also made a written appeal to the President explaining that the murder took place due to an argument over a love affair between the youth and the young girl and Shramantha Jude Anthony Jayamaha, while serving his sentence in prison with good behaviour and conduct and undertook studies to successfully complete his external degree and now working for his PhD and he is an intelligent young man with a pleasant personality. He appealed to consider above and release him on a Presidential pardon.
Ven Rathana Thero also appealed to the President to consider this in accordance with the Buddhist teachings of compassion.
Ven Baddegama Samitha Thero too urged the President to pardon this youth as an intelligent person he would be a good citizen in future and it would be highly appreciated.
Ven Dr Keradewala Punnarathana Nayake Thero, Dwitheeya Adhikarana Sangha Nayake of Southern Sri Lanka, also stated that the President Should sympathetically consider granting pardon to this youth he has not indulged in any illegal acts apart from the crime he was found guilty. Ven Balangoda Buddhagosha Thero also stressed the importance of granting Presidential pardon to this youth.
When this crime took place Shramantha Anthony Jude Jayamaha was a 19 year old youth and considering that it was reported that the crime was committed due to instantaneous and uncontrolled anger and not a pre-planned murder and considering his good conduct during the last 15 years of prison life and he has completed higher studies and studying for PhD and he is an intelligent and experienced person who has been rehabilitated and he has not been found guilty of any wrongdoings during the imprisoned period, and considering that he has an ability to serve the country as a good citizen and in other countries too such amnesty is given to prisoners, the President has decided to pardon Shramantha Jude Anthony Jayamaha. (President’s Media Division)