Supreme Court declares presidential pardon granted to Duminda Silva unlawful

Duminda Silva

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court today declared that former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s decision to grant a Presidential pardon to former Parliamentarian Duminda Silva is unlawful.

On September 08, 2016, five accused including Duminda Silva, were convicted by the Colombo High Court and sentenced to death for committing the murder of four persons, including former Parliamentarian Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra on or around October 08, 2011.

However, after the 2019 presidential election victory, former President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa unexpectedly pardoned Duminda Silva on June 24, 2021.

Three separate fundamental rights petitions were subsequently filed in the Supreme Court challenging the legality of the pardon.

The fundamental rights applications were filed by Hirunika Premachandra, her mother Sumana Premachandra, and Former Human Rights Commissioner Ghazali Hussain, PC.

A bench comprising Justices P. Padman Surasena, Gamini Amarasekera and Arjuna Obeysekera, after careful consideration, unanimously concluded that the pardon process was flawed and therefore unlawful.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court ordered the prison authorities to take necessary action to implement the Supreme Court judgment in respect of Duminda Silva.