Sri Lanka’s pres­i­dent sparks fury by par­don­ing Swedish teenager’s killer

The National - News - - NEWS WORLD -

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.

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