A Sri Lankan Appeals Court on Wednesday sentenced Ven Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera, a Buddhist monk and General Secretary of the Bod Bala Sena, to 19 years rigorous imprisonment, to be carried out in six years over contempt of court.
The Appellate Court ordered Gnanasara Thera to be taken custody immediately. His party, however, said that Gnanasara Thera had been admitted to the hospital in Colombo on Tuesday to undergo a surgery for kidney ailment.
Gnanasara Thera was believed to have incited Sinhalese Buddhist mobs to attack Muslim properties south of Colombo predominantly Muslim areas in the year 2014.
During the course of time, Gnanasara Thera had already been sentenced to six months in June for threatening Sandhya Ekneligoda, wife of journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda on January 25, 2016 inside the Homagana Magistrate’s Court premises. Later, the monk was on bail.
The Court of Appeal on Wednesday sentenced Gnanasara Thera with additional charge after finding him guilty for four counts. All sentences will run concurrently for a maximum jail sentence of six years.
According to reports, an appeal had also been submitted to the Homagama Magistrate’s Court to be forwarded to the Appeals Court.
Gnanasara Thera’s lawyer had already appealed against Wednesday’s verdict and the case will be taken up on August 29, a report said.
Gnanasara Thera led anti-Muslim minority hatred during the former regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa. Muslims accused the then government of protecting him. Now, with the change of the regime in Sri Lanka, Gnanasara Thera’s high-handed action came in for accountability.