Sri Lanka Court rejects jailed monk’s appeal

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s  Court of Appeal Friday refused jailed firebrand Buddhist monk Galagodaatte Gnanasara permission to appeal against his six year sentence for contempt of court.

The Court of Appeal rejected his application filed earlier this month after it found the monk’s behaviour at the Homagama Magistrate’s court in January 2016 to be disruptive and disrespectful to the judiciary.

Lawyers for the monk said they would not take their case to the Supreme Court.

The monk was charged on four counts and for the first two he was give four years each, six years for the third and five years for the fourth count. The total of 19 years to run concurrently which means he will have to spend a maximum of six years in jail.

Two days before the court found of guilty, he admitted himself to the Sri Jayawardenepura hospital. However, he was transferred to the prison hospital on Thursday.

In a separate case, the magistrate’s court in Homagama had sentenced Gnanasara in June to six months in prison for intimidating Sandya Eknaligoda in January 2016.

The magistrate had filed a separate complaint in the Court of Appeal against Gnanasara for his threatening behaviour inside the court house. He is on bail in respect of the earlier conviction. He spent a week in jail and was released on bail only to be ordered back to jail following the latest conviction.

He was put behind bars for the first time in June although he has faced several previous cases on charges of hate crimes against minority Muslims in Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka.

Gnanasara was at the magistrate’s court in January 2016 support military officers accused of abducting Prageeth Eknaligoda, whose cartoons lampooned former strongman president Mahinda Rajapakse.

He accused Eknaligoda and her husband of supporting Tamil extremists and bringing the military into disrepute. The campaign for whereabouts of her husband earned Eknaligoda an "International Women of Courage" award last year from US First Lady Melania Trump. (COLOMBO, August 31, 2018)





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