President Maithripala Sirisena says a group of leading monks, including the Venerable Athuraliye Rathana Thero, had requested clemency for the convicted murderer of Swedish national Yvonne Johnson.
In a statement today the President’s media division said that many religious leaders, former Supreme Court Judges, lawyers, civil society leaders and youth leaders had made representations to President Maithripala Sirisena recommending the granting of a Presidential pardon to 34-year old Don Shramantha Jude Anthony Jayamaha, who was serving life imprisonment for the 2005 murder at Royal Park, Rajagiriya.
“Ven Athraliye Rathana Thero, Member of Parliament, played a key role and coordinated in obtaining Presidential pardon for this youth and he had brought the parents and close relations of the youth to meet the President and give a lengthy explanation of the background. Ven Rathana Thero also made a written appeal to the President explaining that the murder took place due to an argument over a love affair between the youth and the young girl,” the President’s media division said.
The President said that while serving his sentence in prison Shramantha Jude Anthony Jayamaha acted with good behavior and conduct and undertook studies to successfully complete his external degree.
“Ven Rathana Thero also appealed to the President to consider this (pardon) in accordance with the Buddhist teachings of compassion,” the President’s office said.
The President’s office said that the Venerable Baddegama Samitha Thero, the Venerable Dr. Keradewala Punnarathana Nayake Thero, and the Venerable Dwitheeya Adhikarana Sangha Nayake and the Venerable Balangoda Buddhagosha Thero had also appealed to the President to free the convict.
“When this crime took place Shramantha Anthony Jude Jayamaha was a 19 year old youth and considering that it was reported that the crime was committed due to instantaneous and uncontrolled anger and not a pre-planned murder and considering his good conduct during the last 15 years of prison life and that he has completed higher studies, is studying for PhD, is an intelligent and experienced person who has been rehabilitated and has not been found guilty of any wrong doings during the imprisoned period, and considering that he has an ability to serve the country as a good citizen and in other countries too, the President has decided to pardon Shramantha Jude Anthony Jayamaha,” the President’s office said.
The family of the victim and several others have expressed outrage over the President’s decision to free the convict.