ECONOMYNEXT – Imprisoned former Sri Lanka MP Ranjan Ramanayake has signed an affidavit apologising for the charges against him and the process of granting him a presidential pardon will likely be finalised in under a month, a lawyer said.
Attorney-at-law Dinesh Vidanapathirana told reporters in Colombo on Saturday August 13 that copies of the affidavit will be handed over to President Ranil Wickermesinghe, the chief justice and other Supreme Court judges and Minster of Justice Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe in due course.
Vidanapathirana said the process should be completed in under a month after the end of an ongoing two-week court vacation. The affidavit was drafted by a team comprising Vidanapathirana, and Presidents Counsel Faizer Mustapha and Ronald Perera, he said.
President Wickremesinghe had publicly declared that a pardon for Ramanayake, who is serving a four-year rigorous imprisonment sentence for contempt of court, will be considered.
Justice Minister Rajapakshe said earlier in August that Ramanayake must first submit an affidavit apologising for the charges against him.
The Supreme Court sentenced the former main opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) parliamentarian to four years’ rigorous imprisonment on January 12, 2021, over contempt of court charges, in connection with disparaging remarks he had allegedly made about the judiciary in August 2017.
Opposition and SJB leader Sajith Premadasa had previously written to former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appealing for a presidential pardon for Ramanayake. The pardon never came, though Rajapaksa controversially pardoned murder-convict and former MP Duminda Silva, drawing criticism from the the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and others. (Colombo/Aug13/2022)