Sri Lanka president calls third vote on no-confidence motion against premier

A protester wears a mask depicting Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena during a rally in Colombo on November 15. (AFP)
Updated 19 November 2018
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Sri Lanka president calls third vote on no-confidence motion against premier

  • ‘To decide on the no confidence motion presented against the government, president noted that he wanted a vote with a name call or electronically displayed’

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday asked an all-party meeting to hold a third vote on a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, deepening the country’s political crisis.
Sirisena called the all-party leaders’ meeting after Rajapaksa, his choice to lead the government, was voted out twice within days by a majority in a no-confidence motion.
A lawmaker loyal to Sirisena told reporters that the president rejected the outcome of the second vote held on Friday, which potentially strengthened the hand of Ranil Wickremesinghe who is seeking to return as prime minister.
“To decide on the no confidence motion presented against the government, president noted that he wanted a vote with a name call or electronically displayed,” Sirisena’s office said in a statement.
The country’s parliament descended into chaos for a third straight day last Friday as lawmakers supporting Rajapaksa threw books, chili paste, water bottles and furniture at the speaker to try to disrupt the no-confidence vote.
Sirisena’s office said all the party leaders at the Sunday meeting agreed to have a disciplined legislature when proceedings start on Monday.
Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and Anura Kumara Dissanayake, leader of the Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peremuna (JVP) party, did not participate in the meeting.
“We believe that refusing to accept the formerly adopted no-confidence motion that rejects the appointment of the nominal premiership and coming out with various types of cheap excuses are not appropriate for a President of a country,” Dissanayake said in a letter to Sirisena, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.
Sirisena late last month removed and replaced Wickremesinghe with Rajapaksa, plunging the island off India’s southeast coast into political turmoil.
With parliament scheduled to reconvene on Monday, Sirisena appears faced with the choice of either re-appointing Wickremesinghe, whom he has said he will not bring back, or allowing the crisis to fester.
Wickremesinghe’s party said it was ready for a “floor test” in parliament to prove it had majority support for the ousted prime minister.
“Mahinda Rajapaksa should (be) subject to a floor test. The so-called prime minister should show his majority in Parliament and if the speaker’s rulings are wrong, you can bring a motion to cancel those motions,” Lakshman Kiriella, a Wickremesinghe loyalist, told reporters after Sunday’s meeting.


Wisconsin man who kidnapped Jayme Closs gets life in prison

In this March 27, 2019, file photo, Jake Patterson appears for a hearing at the Barron County Justice Center, in Barron, Wis. (AP)
Updated 11 min ago
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Wisconsin man who kidnapped Jayme Closs gets life in prison

  • Details of Jayme’s time in captivity have not been released, and no charges were brought by prosecutors in the county where she was held

BARRON, Wisconsin: A Wisconsin man was sentenced Friday to life in prison for kidnapping 13-year-old Jayme Closs and killing her parents after the girl told the judge she that wanted him “locked up forever” for trying to steal her.
Jake Patterson, 21, pleaded guilty in March to two counts of intentional homicide and one count of kidnapping. He admitted he broke into Jayme’s home in October, gunned down her parents, James and Denise Closs, made off with her and held her under a bed in his remote cabin for 88 days before she made a daring escape.
Jayme didn’t appear at Patterson’s sentencing hearing Friday, but a family attorney read her first public statements about her ordeal to Judge James Babler.
“He thought that he could own me but he was wrong. I was smarter,” the statement said. “I was brave and he was not. ... He thought he could make me like him, but he was wrong. ... For 88 days he tried to steal me and he didn’t care who he hurt or who he killed to do that. He should be locked up forever.”
The judge called Patterson the “embodiment of evil” before sentencing him to consecutive life sentences without the possibility of release on the homicide charges. He also ordered Patterson to serve 25 years in prison and 15 years of extended supervision on the kidnapping count.
“There’s no doubt in my mind you’re one of the most dangerous men to ever walk on this planet,” Babler said.
Patterson sat shaking his head during most of the hearing. Offered a chance to speak, he said he would do anything to take back what he did.
“I would die,” he said. “I would do absolutely anything ... to bring them back. I don’t care about me. I’m just so sorry. That’s all.”
The judge read statements that Patterson wrote in jail in which he said he had succumbed to fantasies about keeping a young girl and torturing and controlling her. He started looking for an opportunity to kidnap someone, even deciding he might want to take multiple girls and kill multiple families, according to the statements. Jayme was the first girl he saw after these thoughts entered his mind, he said.
Patterson’s attorneys, Richard Jones and Charles Glynn, told the judge that Patterson was isolated and that he overreacted to loneliness. They asked for leniency for Patterson, noting that he had pleaded guilty to spare Jayme and her family from a trial.
According to a criminal complaint, Patterson was driving to work in October when he spotted Jayme getting on a school bus near her rural home outside Barron, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northeast of Minneapolis. He decided then that “she was the girl he was going to take.”
District Attorney Brian Wright told the judge that Patterson traveled to the Closs home on two separate occasions to kidnap her but turned back because of activity at her house.
He finally drove to the house during the early morning hours of Oct. 15 dressed in black and carrying his father’s shotgun. He shot James Closs through a window in the front door, blasted the lock and moved inside.
He found the bathroom door locked. He broke the door down and discovered Jayme and her mother clinging to each other in the bathtub. He tied Jayme up with tape, then shot Denise Closs in the head as she sat next to her daughter.
He dragged Jayme through her father’s blood and out to his car. He threw her in the trunk and drove her to his cabin in Gordon in Douglas County, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) northeast of Barron.
He kept her trapped under a bed using totes filled with weights and hit her with a curtain rod, Wright said.
“He kept her in constant fear, threatening her, telling her things would get worse,” Wright said.
Jayme finally escaped on Jan. 10 while Patterson was away. She flagged down a neighbor, who found someone to call police. Patterson was arrested minutes later as he returned to the cabin.
Patterson was also ordered to register as a sex offender, which under Wisconsin law may be required both for an actual sex offense or an attempted sexual offense. Details of Jayme’s time in captivity have not been released, and no charges were brought by prosecutors in the county where she was held.