Gnanasara Thero Presidential pardon possible if Buddhist Mahanayakes requests- Minister Champika

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena will consider pardoning Bodu Bala Sena Gnanasara Thero if Buddhist Mahanayakes make such a request, says Minister Champika Ranawaka.

The Bodu Bala Sena’s (BBS) General Secretary Gnanasara Thera was sentenced to 6 years rigorous imprisonment for contempt of court, by the Appeals Court on August 8.

Megapolis and Western Development Minister Champika Ranawaka said yesterday that President Maithripala Sirisena’s attention would likely to be focused on a presidential pardon for Ven. Galagoda Attte Gnanasara Thera who was sentenced to six years.

He said this in response to a question asked by a journalist after laying the foundation stone for the Gongawela Bus Terminal Development Project in Matale.

“However, I cannot confirm about a presidential pardon for Gnanasara Thera,” he said.

The Thera was accused of having been involved in an offensive behaviour at the Homagama Magistrate’s Court on January 25, 2016.

The court sentenced him to six years’ rigorous imprisonment over a 2016 incident when Gnanasara interrupted a court hearing on the abduction of the journalist, Prageeth Eknaligoda, in which military intelligence officials were accused.

He shouted at the judge and lawyers because the military officials had not been given bail, and threatened Eknaligoda’s wife.

Gnanasara, who is being treated in hospital for an ailment, was not in court for the ruling. He has been on bail since filing an appeal against a conviction in a separate case on June 14.

In that case, he received two concurrent jail terms of six months, a fine of 1,500 rupees ($9.39), and a compensation payment of 50,000 rupees ($313) for having threatened the journalist’s wife, Sandhya Eknaligoda.

Since 2014, the monk has faced accusations in cases regarding anti-Muslim violence, hate speech, and defaming the Koran, the Muslim holy book.

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