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Sri Lankan chief justice impeached

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka’s Parliament voted overwhelmingly on Friday to impeach the chief justice in a case widely seen by jurists and rights activists as an attempt by the government to ensure a servile judiciary.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa will now decide whether Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake should be dismissed.

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Last month, a parliamentary committee ruled that Bandaranayake had unexplained wealth and had misused her power.

She has denied the charges and said she was not given a fair hearing.

An appeals court annulled the guilty verdict and forbade any further action by Parliament after the Supreme Court ruled that the committee had no legal power to investigate the allegations.

Parliament’s defiance of the court rulings is seen a breach of the constitution. Critics of the president say he wants to remove the last obstacles to absolute power.

Rajapaksa has pushed through laws ending term limits for the presidency and abolishing independent commissions that select top judiciary, police, and public service personnel.

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