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 Post subject: Five sentenced to death for killing judge in Sri Lanka
 Post Posted: Tue Jul 05, 2005 1:26 am 
Five sentenced to death for killing judge in Sri Lanka

@The Hindu, 04JUL2005

Colombo, July. 4 (PTI): Five men were today sentenced to death in Sri Lanka for killing a judge who was known to hand down heavy sentences to gangsters and had given a 200-year jail term to Tiger chief.

A three-member bench of Colombo High Court ordered the hanging of the five men after convicting them in the murder of judge Sarath Ambepitiya on November 19 at his home in Colombo. The killing had rocked the judiciary and the political establishment and police chief Chandra Fernando himself led the investigation and ordered protection for all judges under a new police set up.

In a 200-page judgment, the High Court found the five men, led by Potta Nauffer, a man suspected to be running an underworld gang linked to the drugs trade, guilty of conspiracy and murder of the judge.

Image
Mohammed Niyaz Naufer, center, convicted for the murder of a High Court judge in 2004, comes out of the courtroom after he was sentenced to death, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday, July 4, 2005. The Sri Lankan court sentenced five suspected drug traffickers to death on Monday for their involvement in the fatal shooting of Judge Sarath Ambepitiya known for handing out heavy punishments to narcotics smugglers. Naufer, the fifth defendant and accused ringleader, was convicted of conspiring to murder and of aiding and abetting the killing. The prosecution said he ordered the killing but wasn't present when it was carried out. (@AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Ambepitiya had handed down a 200-year jail term to Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, for his involvement in the January 1996 bombing of the Central Bank here, killing 91 people and wounding 1,400.

But, investigators cleared of involvement of the Tigers in the killing of the judge and said gangsters who had been receiving heavy sentences from him had wanted to seek revenge.

Image
The main accused Niyaz Naufer being body checked before he entered the High Court yesterday to hear the death sentence being imposed on him. @ Pic by Kithsiri de Mel / @ DM

The five convicts have two more stages of appeal to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court and can also seek clemency from the President if the capital punishment is upheld by the other two courts.

Sri Lanka has not carried out the death sentence since the last hanging in 1976.


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