It is with dismay that we the Church Leaders of The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) learnt of the presidential pardon given to former Army Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake who was sentenced in 2015 for the murder of eight Tamil civilians including a five- year- old child in Year 2000.
The facts of the case are well known. Sergeant Ratnayake was one of the five defendants brought to trial. Four were released due to lack of sufficient evidence. Sgt. Ratnayake was convicted, appealed and his subsequent appeal to the Supreme Court was dismissed in April 2019 by a five-judge bench. In no way can it be said that there has been any miscarriage of justice.
This decision taken at a time, when those held in remand due to their inability to post bail, or convicted and unable to pay their fines were to be released in a bid to lessen the threat of a COVID-19 breakout in prisons, is an affront to the Supreme Court, the High Court trial-at bar and the legal system of this country, as well as a blatant injustice to the civilian victims of this terrible crime and their families.
We strongly condemn this divisive action, when the country needs to be united in spirit in the common task of combating the deadly epidemic that is upon us.
Rev. Heshan De Silva – Chairperson National Christian Council of Sri Lanka and President Sri Lanka Baptist Sangamaya
Rt. Rev. D.R. Canagasabey –Bishop of Colombo, Church of Ceylon, Diocese of Colombo
Rt. Rev. Keerthisiri Fernando – Bishop of Kurunegala – Church of Ceylon, Diocese of Kurunegala
Rt. Rev. Dr. Daniel S. Thiagarajah, Bishop of Jaffna Diocese, Church of South India
Rev. Asiri P. Perera – President, The Methodist Church, Sri Lanka
Rev. Saman Perera - President, Presbytery of Lanka
Rev. Shirley Faber, President, Christian Reformed Church
Lt. Colonel Suresh Pawar, Territorial Commander, The Salvation Army
Rev Maxwell Doss – General Secretary, The National Christian Council of
(STATEMENT BY THE NATIONAL CHRISTIAN COUNCIL OF SRI LANKA)