Sri Lankan MPs have signed a petition urging the President to pardon former MP, Duminda Silva, who is currently serving a sentence for murder.
The Sunday Times reported that at a meeting last week, the Chief Government Whip's office staff circulated the petiton for MP signatures, highlighting that a pardon is a stong likelihood.
Silva was found guilty of killing Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and three others during the local election campaign in 2011. Silva was a former SLFP politician, with strong links to the drug trade and was a close ally of Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who was serving as Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary at the time.
Leader of the Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA), Mano Ganesan intially expressed support for the pardoning of Silva, claiming that he was "under the influence of liquor when the killings occurred." He later retracted his signature and told reporters that he had signed the petition to bring attention to issues faced by Tamil political prisoners.
Controversial pardons are not new on the island. Earlier this year, Gotabaya pardoned Staff Sergeant Sunil Rathnayake, who was sentenced to death over the massacre of eight Tamil civilians.
A pardon was also issued for Galagodaaththe Gnanasara, a hard-line nationalist Buddhist monk. He was convicted for contempt of court after he intimidated humna rights defender Sandhya Eknaligoda and disrupted proceedings on the enforced disappearance of her husband, Prageeth Eknaligoda, where members of the military are the accused.