Discussions underway to grant Presidential pardon to Gnanasara Thera: Rajitha


Co-cabinet Minister, Rajitha Senaratne said today that President Sirisena spoke to the Mahanayaka Thera regarding granting a Presidential pardon for Ven Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara.

He, however, could not confirm whether this would materialize or not.

Addressing the weekly media briefing at the Department of Government Information in Colombo, the Minister was of the view that the government could not go against the law of the country to make an exception for the Bodu Bala Sena leader.

“We cannot go against the decision of the courts. This is the legal system of the country. He is not the first monk in this country to be jailed. Ven. Somarama was jailed and sentenced to death for SWRD Bandaranaike’s death; he went through the same procedure. S.B. Dissanayake was imprisoned for 2 years for insulting the courts”.

He added that 18 religious leaders which included 15 Buddhist monks languished in prison for various crimes today.

When journalists pointed out with regard to Ven Gnanasara being asked to disrobe, the Minister stated that all prisoners under the law had to do so.

No matter what the Sangha laws are, there is a law in the country which has to be adhered to, he said.  

“We will have to amend the Prisons Ordinance if we are to give them special preference, but under the current law it can’t be done”.

He also explained that the Attorney General’s Department had not received the notice to appear in court when Ven Gnanasara Thera’s appeal was taken up in court on Tuesday.

The appeal has been postponed to June 22.


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