Gotabaya Rajapaksa, presidential candidate of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), said on Wednesday (09) that he would release “all war heroes who were unjustly imprisoned” when he comes to power.
This was when he addressed his inaugural public rally at Salgadu Ground, Anuradhapura.
Rajapaksa’s term “war heroes who were unjustly imprisoned” was referred to army soldiers who were arrested during the Rajapaksa regime on charges of murdering and abducting, torturing, and murdering journalists at the behest of the Rajapaksa family.
The presidential election will be held on November 16. The results will be announced and the new president will be sworn in on November 17. Gotabaya Rajapaksa promises he will release his former criminal assistants as soon as he is sworn in, if he wins.
However, the executive president is not vested with power to decide whether or not to imprison someone. It is up to the judiciary. The president has absolutely no power to release the accused, who have been remanded without special verdict. He has the power to pardon those who have been convicted and sentenced in court, but there is nothing the president can do about the remand prisoners – not at least according to law we know.
But Gotabaya Rajapaksa is not a man who respects law and order at all. His history speaks for itself. As soon as he assumes office, he may begin to exercise his own judicial power by being above the judiciary.
The balance of power is essential to maintaining democracy, since the three power structures – the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary – are separate and formulated in such a way that they cannot be influenced with each other. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, no matter how cleverly masked he is, comes out of this time with his greed for power.
Simply put, Gotabaya Rajapakse yesterday said he was ready to become a Hitler. If Gota wins, the entire judiciary will be rendered useless