‘Grave implications if Gnanasara is released’

Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero

The Lawyers for Democracy organisation has expressed serious concern pertaining to reports of a possible grant of Presidential pardon to arrested and convicted Thera Galagoda Atthe Gnanasara.

Issuing a statement the LfD called for the President to reconsider the negative side effects on the rule of law and the Constitutional implications of deciding to grant said petition.

The statement read “a pardon that will be administered will be for the offence of contempt of court and will signal to the public that it is possible to act in such threatening manner in a court room and with complete disregard to the judiciary and officers of the law and thereafter use the fact that the criminal belongs to the priesthood and through political influence obtain such a pardon. A pardon if not considered with due diligence and careful consideration of the implications on the rule of law will contribute to a culture of impunity.”

The LfD also charged that media reports justifying the Thera’s release appear to be politically motivated.

The group stressed his release will also have an adverse effect on the Ekeneligoda disappearance case and all other pending cases of political significance particularly those involving the military.

The statement read “such a pardon will strengthen impunity in Sri Lanka and discourage victims and witnesses from pursing justice, as the system would be seen as failing them. This will also create a negative antecedent, particularly of the office of the President which will be perceived as protecting a convict who disrupted and threatened legitimate judicial proceedings. It will also diminish the respect for and in the office of the Attorney general.”

(Source: News Radio)