17 Jan 2013

Sacked chief justice replaced

5:02 am on 17 January 2013

President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka has appointed a close ally to replace the chief justice who was sacked two days after being impeached by parliament on Friday.

Former attorney general and senior government legal adviser Mohan Peiris was appointed on Tuesday to replace Shirani Bandaranayake.

Her removal was pronounced unlawful by the courts and condemned by the opposition and many lawyers.

Ms Bandaranayake, 54, said on Tuesday her life was in danger and that she had moved out of her official chambers.

She faced a parliamentary committee late last year which investigated charges of financial and official misconduct against her. It found her guilty of three out of 14 misconduct charges.

But two recent court rulings found the impeachment process was unconstitutional.

On Sunday President Rajapaksa ratified parliament's vote to impeach her. But the BBC reports she is still recognised by most lawyers, many of whom have condemned her removal as politically motivated.

The government denies it turned against her after some unfavourable judgements.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Ms Bandaranayake said she was "totally innocent of all charges".