It is also reported that certain groups are planning on holding celebrations while the BBS had requested that Gnanasara Thera’s release be celebrated spiritually.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the BBS Dilantha Withanage in his Face Book post had detailed what should be done in lieu of Gnanasara Thera’s release.
He had appealed to all to hoist a Buddhist flag at their homes and vehicles to celebrate Gnanasara Thera’s release and light lamps at every temple at 7.00 pm on the day the Thera would be released. However, when inquired, Withanage said that no one had been asked to attend Gnanasara Thera’s release.
Thilanga taking credit?
Meanwhile, a member of the BBS alleged that MP Thilanga Sumathipala is trying to take credit for the release of Gnanasara Thera.
They allege that Sumathipala is getting his groups to post up FB comments to this effect.
The relevant FB posts are as follows.
I should be notified prior to Gnanasara’s release- Sandya
Meanwhile, Journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda’s wife Sandya Ekneligoda has said that according to the provisions of the Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses Act, she should be notified beforehand about the release of Gnanasara Thera.
Sandya had told the BBC Sinhala Service that those releasing Gnanasara Thera should focus attention in taking responsibility for her safety.
Justice Ministry- Prison Department unaware
The Justice Ministry meanwhile, noted that they had not been officially notified that Gnanasara Thera would be released on Presidential pardon. The Spokesman of the Prison Department Thushara Upuldeniya said that so far his department had not been notified regarding Gnanasara’s release.
Meanwhile, Human Rights lawyer J.C. Weliamuna in a Twitter message stated that as Gnanasara Thera was imprisoned over charges of contempt of court, granting him pardon is a blow to the independence of the judiciary.
The President’s Counsel stated that an investigation could be held regarding this issue as per the provisions of the 19th Amendment.
Pardoning Ven. Ghanasara is a slap on the independence of judiciary: he was convicted of interfering with court & contempt of court. No civilised nation will lightly pardon such a convict. After 19th Amendment, Presidential power to pardon is subject to judicial review!— J C Weliamuna (@JCWeliamuna) May 22, 2019
Gnanasara Thera was sentenced by Appeal Court judges Preethi Padman Soorasena and Shirani Gunaratne.
The charges was filed against Gnanasara Thera by the Attorney General based on a complaint lodged in the Appeal Court by Colombo Chief Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake.
According to the charges filed, Gnanasara Thera is accused of having behaved in a unruly manner within the court premises during the hearing of Prageeth Ekneligoda’s disappearance case in January 2016 at the Homagama Magistrate’s Court causing insult to the judiciary and the state counsels.
However, Gnanasara Thera had pleaded not guilty to these charges.
Dilantha points to discrepancies in the case.
Meanwhile, Gnanasara Thera was found guilty on four counts on August 08th, 2018 and sentenced to 19 years rigorous imprisonment, to be completed within 6 years. The Executive Director of the BBS Dilantha Withanage however, points to several discrepancies in the case in a video released by him.
The relevant video is shown below.