- UNP MP presents Private Members’ Bill to abolish death penalty
- New Bill proposes to remove any reference to death penalty in law and replace it with life imprisonment
By Ashwin Hemmathagama – Our Lobby Correspondent
United National Party (UNP) MP Bandula Lal Bandarigoda yesterday presented his Private Members’ Bill to abolish the death penalty in Parliament, countering President Maithripala Sirisena’s push to remove the
MP Bandula Lal Bandarigoda
moratorium on the death penalty in Sri Lanka. MP Bandarigoda, who was granted leave to present the Bill in Parliament, moved the Bill that challenges President Maithripala Sirisena’s efforts to execute four prisoners on the death row before the end of his term. MP Bandarigoda’s Bill proposes that Parliament convert capital punishment into life imprisonment.
The Bill, titled “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 & Prison Reforms to report to Parliament under Standing Order 52 (6) of the Parliament.