(MENAFN - Leisure Plus) />The General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), the venerable Galagoda aththe Gnanasara thero, was released today from jail on a Presidential pardon.
Gnanasara thero left the Welikada prison using the backdoor after concerns were raised over his security and the situation in the country, the BBS said.
The controversial monk was jailed in August last year for six years after being found guilty of contempt of court over his conduct during a court hearing regarding the case of missing journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda.
Gnanasara Thero was found guilty of four charges filed by the Attorney General's Department for his behaviour. He was convicted on four counts of contempt of court, receiving terms of four years each on the first and the second counts, six years on the third and five for the fourth, all to run concurrently.
In 2016, Gnanasara Thero interrupted a court hearing over the abduction of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda, in which military intelligence officials were accused. The monk, disagreeing the proceedings of the Court, shouted at the presiding judge and lawyers as the accused military men were refused bail. The same day, he also threatened the wife of the missing journalist, Sandhya Eknaligoda.
The action lead to a court case being filed by Eknaligoda's wife where Gnanasara Thero was found guilty and sentenced to six month of rigorous imprisonment. The monk later appealed the case and was released on bail.
He however lost the appeal in the contempt of court case. (Colombo Gazette)