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Human Rights

Private Bill against death penalty proposes retroactive life imprisonment

Anti death penalty poster in Colombo/ Arjuna Ranawana RepublicNext

The Private Member’s Bill to be presented in Parliament by Galle District MP Bandula Lal Bandarigoda proposing the abolition of the death penalty seeks to amend any imposition of the death penalty by any other Act to mean imprisonment for life.

Section 2 of the bill states: “The reference in any Act to the imposition of the death penalty or punishment by death, shall, from and after the coming into force of this Act, be amended and construed as punishment by imprisonment for life.”

Transitional provisions in the draft Bill also seek to retroactively deem a person sentenced to death prior to the passing of the Act to be deemed to serve a life sentence.

States Section 3:
(a) “Any person in respect of whom a sentence of death has been imposed prior to the coming into force of this Act shall be deemed to be a person sentenced to imprisonment for life in respect of such offence.”
(b) “Any person who has committed, prior to the coming into force of this Act, an offence punishable with death, but in respect of whom a sentence of punishment has not yet been imposed by Court, shall be deemed to have committed an offence punishable with imprisonment for life.”

In the event of any inconsistency between the Sinhala and Tamil texts of this Act, states the draft Bill, the Sinhala text shall prevail.