Jail Birds

Five men were Monday sentenced to hang for killing a Sri Lankan judge who had handed down heavy sentences on gangsters. Five men were Monday sentenced to hang for killing a Sri Lankan judge who had handed down heavy sentences on gangsters. The murder of Judge Sarath Ambepitiya, who was gunned down at his Colombo home last November 19, rocked the judiciary and the political establishment. Police chief Chandra Fernando personally took over the investigation.

The five sentenced by the Colombo High Court were led by Potta Nauffer, a man suspected of running an underworld gang linked to the drugs trade.

They can appeal to the Court of Appeal and to the Supreme Court. If these legal recourses fail, they can seek clemency from the president.

Although Sri Lankan courts hand down death sentences, capital punishment has not been carried out since 1976.

The slain judge had also handed down a 200-year jail term on Tamil Tiger rebel supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran, who was tried in absentia for his role in the January 1996 bombing of the central bank that killed 91 people and wounded 1,400.

Initially the