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Nov 14, 2016

Judge’s visit to Duminda Silva confirmed Featured

During a visit to the prison in connection with a court hearing, a female judge has visited Duminda Silva, who is sentenced to death over the Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra murder, Prison Department spokesman Thushara Upuldeniya confirms.

Upuldeniya has told BBC Sandeshaya, however, that there was no truth to reports that the visit had been made in the night.

She has met the prisoner around 2.00 pm during visiting hours, he said.

Visit is unethical

However, Lawyers for Democracy co-convener Chandrapala Kumarage says it is totally against ethics of judges to pay a visit to a person sentenced to death.

That is especially so at a time when Silva has appealed against his death sentence, Kumarage noted.

Had the visit been made outside the visiting hours, prison officers as well as the visitor had violated the law, he went onto say.

Part of prison tribunal duty

Meanwhile, the judge in question, district court judge Ayesha Abdeen, has told lankaenews website that she had gone to the prison around 12.30 on November 10 as per her official duty at the prison tribunal every Thursday since October 2015 to hear cases pertaining to offences committed by prisoners at prisons.

Previously, she has served at the prison tribunal in 2006 and 2009 as well.

The magistrate in charge of an area having a prison should make a monthly visit to the prison and submit a report to the Judicial Services Commission, she said.

Duminda Silva’s neurological condition

The prison’s chief has told her that there were no facilities at the prison hospital to treat Duminda Silva’s neurological condition, judge Abdeen said.

The judge said that during those visits, she met not only Duminda Silva, but also Tissa Attanayake and Vaas Gunawardena.

She said she visited a foreigner imprisoned for drug possession after he was caught with a mobile phone and assaulted by prison officers.

The judge said she ordered that the prisoner be subjected to an x-ray test as he complained of having been hit on the back.

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