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Convicted murderer on death row sworn in by Sri Lankan parliament

September 9, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

A convicted murderer on death row was sworn in as a Sri Lankan lawmaker Tuesday, after a court ruled that he could not be barred from the country's 225-member Parliament.

Colombo, Sri Lanka (CNN)A convicted murderer on death row was sworn in as a Sri Lankan lawmaker Tuesday, after a court ruled that he could not be barred from the country's 225-member Parliament.

Lawmakers from the United People's Force, the largest opposition grouping in Parliament, staged a walkout when Premlal Jayasekera was sworn in by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena as member of Parliament for Ratnapura District, a gem mining center, southeast of the capital Colombo.

While the case against him was pending, Jayasekera was nominated by the Sri Lanka People's Front (SLPF) as a parliamentary candidate.

When the SLPF won a landslide victory last year, Jayasekera was one of 145 candidates elected to Parliament.

Jayasekera's election triggered a string of legal issues, as he tried to get permission to attend Parliament from authorities at Colombo's Welikade Prison.

"Since the election of this Member of Parliament has not been invalidated, the interim relief sought that he be permitted to attend Parliament has to be allowed," the court said, though it left the matter ultimately to the Speaker whether or not to swear Jayasekera in.

On Tuesday, Jayasekera was escorted to parliament by armed prison officials, where he took the oath of office and formally became an elected lawmaker.

People's Liberation Front leader Anura Kumara said it was "unjust" for someone given a death sentence to be a member of Parliament.

Jayasekera will be escorted in a similar fashion whenever Parliament is in session, but he won't be the only lawmaker attending to his duties under guard.

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