News

MP on death row elected: SLPP awaits verdict on MP

By Sarah Hannan

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam said that the party is awaiting the hearing of their appeal request over the sentencing of Premalal Jayasekara, their party member who was elected with the second highest preferential vote count in the Ratnapura District.

Jayasekara, alias “Choka Malli”, contested in last week’s election from the Ratnapura District under the SLPP and managed to secure a seat in the Ninth Parliament by gaining 104,237 preferential votes.

Even during the final campaign meeting, Kariyawasam had assured the supporters that although Jayasekara was sentenced to death, the legal team of SLPP had furnished an appeal.

This meant that even if Jayasekara was imprisoned, the voters could cast their votes for him and appoint him to Parliament.

Jayasekara and two others were sentenced to death on 31 July over a shooting incident in Kahawatte during the presidential election in 2015, which resulted in the death of a political supporter who was decorating an election stage of presidential candidate and eventual winner Maithripala Sirisena.

The incident took place on the morning of 5 January 2015 where the United National Party (UNP) supporter, who was engaged in decorating an election stage, sustained critical gunshot wounds during the shooting and succumbed to injuries in hospital on 8 January.

Following the fatal incident, the Pelmadulla Magistrate issued arrest warrants on the suspects and Jayasekara was arrested on 10 January 2015. He was later released on bail on 7 December 2015 pending verdict.

The verdict of the case was delivered on 31 July this year by the Ratnapura High Court; Jayasekara, along with former Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council member Nilantha Jayakody and former Kahawatta Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Vajira Darshana, was sentenced to death.