There are attempts to grant Presidential Pardon to former MP Duminda Silva on February 4, UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra said in Parliament yesterday.
Taking the floor during the debate on the Commissions of Inquiry (Amendment) Bill, MP Premachandra said that she has information and evidence that a group of people are going from house to house collecting signatures for a petition in the Colombo district, including Kolonnawa to grant a Presidential Pardon to former MP Silva.
She said that this was done with the connivance of President Maithripala Sirisena. “There is speculation that a number one drug barons serving life sentences are to be given a Presidential Pardon. This is supposed to have transpired following talks between the President and Duminda Silva’s brother. Only the President will know whether the speculations are true. But, I have evidence to my claim. This is no more a personal issue for me. The fact that Duminda Silva is now in the prison hospital for no other illness but obesity due to homemade food is not relevant to me.The courts gave a historical ruling upholding its independence and it must not be reversed,” she said.
She however pointed out that a Presidential Pardon is only possible with the recommendation of the Attorney General, the Justice Minister and the High Court judges who convicted former MP Silva.
“Justice Minister Thalatha Athukorala is a strong personality with a backbone. I know that she would not yield to undue pressure,” MP Premachandra remarked.
She noted that all the other prisoners convicted for drug trafficking would also demand a Presidential Pardon, if former MP Silva was released. She charged that former MP Silva continues the illegal drug business from within the prisons.
During her emotionally charged speech, Premachandra said that she regrets that she put all her efforts to see Common Candidate Sirisena’s victory at the last Presidential Election.
“I regret that I supported for an individual who does not follow a consistent policy. After seeing the unconstitutional acts of the President after October 26, it appears to me that granting a Presidential Pardon to former MP Silva could be a possibility under President Sirisena,” she decried.
“Any action of the President except declaring war and peace can be challenged in the Supreme Court. The President cannot do whatever he pleases just because he has power,” she added.
MP Premachandra railing against the President said that he has become unpopular in his very first term in office. “President Sirisena came to power with the pledge of abolishing the Executive Presidency, but now he wants to contest again. President Sirisena swept into power over the bodies of Thajudeen, Lasantha and Ekneligoda. Now that he has re-joined with those accused to have committed those crimes, what can he say on the stages of the next election campaign? Will the people believe what he says? I challenge President Sirisena to contest the next Presidential Election. We have a handful of things to say about him on that day,” MP Premachandra said in a fiery speech.