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8 Sep, 2020 16:23

Sri Lankan convict on death row for murder sworn in as MP amid heckles from opposition (VIDEO)

Sri Lankan convict on death row for murder sworn in as MP amid heckles from opposition (VIDEO)

A man who was sentenced to execution for murder has become the first convict to take up a seat in the Sri Lankan parliament. A number of other legislators walked out in protest as he took the oath of office.

Premalal Jayasekara was escorted from prison to parliament after a court ruled that he could take up his MP seat and return after the day’s session, the AFP reported. Opposition lawmakers heckled as the 45-year-old took the oath, while several of them staged a walkout.

The politician, from the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna party (SLPP), was convicted a month ago of murdering an opposition activist after opening fire at a stage being set up by a rival party in January 2015. The Ratnapura High Court found him guilty on charges of shooting dead one person and injuring two others.

His conviction and sentence came after the nominations for the August 5 poll, and he was able to contest the election.

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The new parliament held its first session on 20 August, but prison authorities refused to let him out. On Monday, however, the court of appeal ruled that he could exercise his rights as an MP.
Jayasekara has also appealed against his conviction and the death sentence. No one has been executed since 1976 in Sri Lanka.

He is not the only legislator to be escorted from prison to parliament in the country, though. Former Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, who was elected to parliament in the August election and is awaiting trial for murder, is being brought in for legislative sessions.

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