Feb 02, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has decided to commute the sentences of 60 prisoners in death row to life sentences prisoners on account of the 69th Independence Day on February 04.
President Sirisena has taken the decision to spare the lives of the prisoners based on the recommendations made by a Committee appointed by the Ministry of Justice and headed by retired Supreme Court Judge Nimal Dissanayake.
The Committee was appointed to review and report whether the death sentences on death row prisoners should be commuted to life imprisonment. Accordingly, the Committee has recommended commuting the sentences of 60 prisoners to life imprisonment effective from February 04.
The death row convicts will be considered for parole only after they served a minimum sentence of 20 years and their pleas for any relief will be referred to the parole board once in four years after that.
Although Sri Lankan courts give death penalty in serious crimes such as murder, rape and drug trafficking, no executions have been carried out since 1976. All death penalty cases have been commuted to life in prison.