Sri Lanka’s president sparks fury by pardoning Swedish teenager’s killer
Sri Lanka’s outgoing president sparked outrage when he pardoned a death-row prisoner convicted of murdering a Swedish teenager.
Jude Jayamaha, who is from a wealthy, high-profile family, walked out of Welikada Prison on Saturday after the highly unusual pardon granted by President Maithripala Sirisena.
Mr Sirisena, who is stepping down after this week’s presidential election, said last month that he was considering a request to pardon Jayamaha.
Yvonne Jonsson, who was on holiday in Sri Lanka, was beaten to death at an apartment in Colombo in 2005 after arguing with Jayamaha. The court heard that her skull was broken into 64 pieces.
Jayamaha was initially sentenced to 12 years in prison. He appealed to a higher court, which rejected his plea and sentenced him to death, a judgment reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in 2014.
Jonsson’s sister Caroline earlier wrote on Facebook that Jonsson’s killer “showed and continues to show absolutely no remorse for what he has done”.
“We’ve worked hard to rebuild our lives and here we are, going into 15 years, still fighting for justice. We now have to prepare ourselves for the worst possible outcome, the pardon of my sister’s murderer.”
Sri Lankans took to social media to condemn Mr Sirisena.
“Monstrous act by a failed president,” wrote one Twitter user.
Others speculated that Mr Sirisena may be planning to pardon another death-row inmate whose family owns radio and television stations that support him.