COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Three legal associations of the Commonwealth have called for Sri Lanka’s suspension from the body of former British colonies and to reconsider holding a heads of government meeting in the country later this year citing an erosion of judicial independence and repression.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II , right, shakes hands with Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa, left, at a Commonwealth meeting in London last year. Pic: AP.

Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association, Commonwealth Legal Education Association and Commonwealth Magistrates ‘and Judges’ Association said in a resolution dated Wednesday that Sri Lanka’s continued presence in the Commonwealth and allowing its President Mahinda Rajapaksa to chair the Commonwealth during a heads of governments meeting scheduled in November would tarnish its reputation and be seen as condoning governments violating its principles, the groups said.

They cited a controversial impeachment of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake earlier this year and Parliament’s non-compliance with court orders on the process.

(READ MORE: Commonwealth struggles for unity amid Sri Lanka HR concerns)

Rajapaksa sacked Bandaranayake after a Parliament committee found her guilty of misuse of power and possessing undeclared bank accounts. He appointed a close aide as the new chief justice.

Judges and lawyers criticized the move as flawed and Bandaranayake said she was not given a fair trial.

Two years ago Parliament abolished provisions for an independent judicial services commission and vested powers of appointing and sacking judges on the president.

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