Sri Lanka

Death penalty for murder; perjury causing an innocent person to be executed; rape; drug trafficking. Moratorium since 1976.

Sri Lankan hangman resigns in shock at sight of gallows

march 12, 2014

A newly recruited hangman in Sri Lanka has resigned in shock after being shown the gallows for the first time.

The country has not carried out a judicial execution since 1976 but has over 400 prisoners on death row.

The authorities want to have an executioner ready in case hangings resume.

But three recruits have now abandoned the job within a year after the previous hangman was promoted to become a prison guard.

Commissioner-General of Prisons Chandrarathna Pallegama told the BBC that the new recruit – reported to be 40 and from the town of Anuradhapura – “got shocked and afraid” after seeing the gallows, which came after several days of training.

He had written a letter saying he wanted to resign and had failed to report for training since Monday.

Mr Pallegama said the man would be given one month to consider his decision. If there was no change, fresh applications would be called for through a government gazette.

The last permanent hangman had also said the gallows made him nervous, and he felt he was lucky only to have done clerical work despite his job title.

Two men were then recruited from among 176 applicants but quit the job last year after going on unauthorised leave, reports said.

The man who has just resigned is reported to have been the third-placed applicant from that process.

Any new execution in Sri Lanka would have to be authorised by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Those on death row do not include former members of the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) or LTTE suspects.

(Source: BBC News)


Sri Lanka President to pardon elderly condemned prisoners

July 28, Colombo: Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed the Minister of Prisons Rehabilitation and Reforms Chandrasiri Gajadeera and the Commissioner General of Prisons Chandraratna Pallegama to take steps to provide relief to the elderly condemned prisoners.

Accordingly, the condemned prisoners who are over 60 years of age and who have been imprisoned for more than ten years will be pardoned.

Prison sources say that the documents in this regard are being prepared now.

Sources say that 15 prisoners of this category are in Welikada prison and some of them are ill.

Sri Lanka recognizes death penalty in principle but it is not implemented since the President does not endorse it. All death penalty cases have been commuted to life in prison and there have been no executions since 1973.

Although the government reinstated the death penalty in 2004 for murder, rape and drug trafficking following the murder of a high court judge, no execution has been carried out yet.


Man gets death sentence for burning sons to death

September 18, 2012

A sessions court on Tuesday awarded death sentence to Jasvir Singh, a resident of Kallowal village in the district, who had burnt alive his two minor sons and left his wife seriously injured.

Terming it a rarest-of-the-rare case, the court of additional sessions judge JS Bhinder on Tuesday pronounced the death sentence on Jasvir Singh (37), a resident of Kallowal village in the district, after holding him guilty of burning his two minor sons to death and attempting to murder his wife in January.

Deciding the case in a record five hearings spanning 23 days after the first hearing was held on August 27, the court said, “If the sentence lesser than the capital punishment is awarded, the convict, after serving out the same, may turn out to be a menace for society… He will remain a continuous threat to society. His attack on family members to kill them was cold-blooded and hence calls for deterrent punishment for this morality reprehensible or abominable crime,” the court ruled.

“Death sentence will only meet the ends of justice, as it will also be an eye opener for other not to indulge in akin activities. I, therefore, sentence Jasvir Singh to death under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and direct that he be hanged by the neck till he is dead,” the judge pronounced.

After the judgment, Jasvir’s wife Narinder Kaur (28) said, “I tried my best to save my sons Lovepreet Singh (5) and Lakhwinder Singh (4) from getting engulfed in the fire that was engineered by my husband at our house on January 27, but I failed to do so. The killer (Jasvir) should be hanged immediately so that the innocent souls can rest in peace,” she said, her eyes filled with tears.

The court also sentenced Jasvir to undergo seven years’ rigorous imprisonment for attempting to murder his wife, five years’ rigorous imprisonment under section 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house) of the IPC and one-year rigorous imprisonment under section 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement) of the IPC. All sentences would run concurrently.

According to Jasvir Singh’s wife Narinder Kaur, had earlier mentioned that the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) officials disconnected power supply of her house for non-payment of Rs.2,000 bill.

A drunken Jasvir returned home in the evening while he also brought liquor with him. Upon getting to know about power disconnection, he exchanged heated arguments with Narinder Kaur. He ordered her to borrow money from her parents so as to pay the bill. She, however, told him that her parents had already paid last bill worth Rs. 2000 and she would not abide by his dictates. But he instead started beating her up with an iron rod and hurled abuses on her for not acceding to his demand. He threatened to set all of them on fire.

Later, she along with two kids went to bed at 7 pm. Firstly, her husband with the help of candle set the quilt on fire and shut the door from outside. She tried to put off the fire but her cloths caught the fire. She raised the alarm and neighbourers rushed to the spot and opened the door. She also cried for safety of her children but her husband didn’t care for them and run away from the spot. “After receiving severe burn injuries, I managed to reach house of my father-in-law’s brother, who arranged an ambulance to shift all of us to civil hospital,” she said, adding that she later came to know that both her sons succumbed to their injuries. The entire house was gutted in the fire.