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Sri Lankan lawmakers debating judge’s impeachment

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s Parliament is debating whether to impeach the chief justice, deepening a standoff between the judiciary and the government, which is controlled by the country’s most powerful family.

Lawmakers are widely expected to vote Friday to impeach Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake. Last month, a parliamentary committee ruled she was guilty of possession of unexplained wealth and misuse of power and declared her unfit for office.

Bandaranayake has denied the allegations and accuses the government of denying her a fair trial.

Sri Lanka is largely controlled by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family. He has the support of more than two-thirds of the 225-member Parliament.

Critics say the impeachment plan is a part of a government move to undermine the independence of the judiciary.

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