Death sentence for

judge’s murderers

Five men have been sentenced to death in Sri Lanka for killing a high-profile judge in November last year. Judge Sarath Ambepitiya, who was renowned for his tough sentences on underworld figures, was shot dead as he arrived home from court. The five men convicted at the Colombo High Court were said to be members of a gang linked to the drugs trade. The government set up a special security unit to protect the judiciary after the killing. The assassination on November 19 prompted President Chandrika Kumaratunga to reaffirm her country’s commitment to capital punishment, saying it applied for murder, rape and drug trafficking. No executions have been carried out for 28 years in Sri Lanka, although a move to commute all death sentences to life in prison was revoked in January 2001.