Sirisena commutes death sentence of 60 prisoners to life

Colombo, Feb 4 (IANS) Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has commuted the death sentences of 60 prisoners to life imprisonment in view of the country’s 69th Independence Day which was celebrated on Saturday.

Prison’s Commissioner Nishan Danasinghe told Xinhua the prisoners had their sentences commuted following a recommendation made by Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakse.

Rajapakse made this recommendation based on a report of an expert committee he had appointed to look into the commutation of death sentences to life imprisonment.

Most of the prisoners who had their sentences commuted were charged with murder.

Some of them also included prisoners who were in Sri Lankan jails for many years.

Although Sri Lankan courts have handed out the death penalty in serious crimes such as murder, rape and drug trafficking, no executions have been carried out in the island country since 1976.

All death penalty cases have been commuted to life in prison.