Sri Lanka: Death row prisoners continues hunger strike

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The death row prisoners continuing their hunger strike at Welkada and Mahara prisons for the fourth day.

They went on a hunger strike demanding that the Sri Lankan government to commute their death penalty to life imprisonment. Their demand came after a presidential pardon was granted to former politician Duminda Silva. He was serving a death sentence for the 2011 murder of Parliamentarian Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and three of his bodyguards. 

About 150 inmates of the Welikada Prison who were sentenced to death joined the hunger strike yesterday (28) and about 25 of them climbed on the roof of the chapel ward to join the protest.

Seventy death row inmates at the Mahara Prison are on a hunger strike and have refused to have lunch yesterday (28)

Meanwhile, the Department of Prisons has decided not to recommend any future pardon to any prisoner who protests on the roofs of prisons, damaging prison property and security, Colombo Page reported. 

“Prisoners serving death sentences in Mahara and Welikada prisons are demanding to commute their sentence to life imprisonment and even that to reduce to 20 years. The Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General’s Department are taking necessary steps to take a decision in this regard. A decision in this regard will be given soon. However, when such protests continue, the Prisons Department has decided not to grant any pardon to those who climb on the roof and cause damage to prison property and disturb the peace,” the Prison official said.

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