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ECONOMYNEXT – Imprisoned former Sri Lanka MP Ranjan Ramanayake is likely to be released either on Friday August 26 or Monday August 29 on a presidential pardon, Minister of Tourism Harin Fernando said.

Fernando tweeted Thursday August 25 afternoon that he and his colleague Minister Manusha Nanayakkara who requested President Ranil Wickremesinghe to pardon Ramanayake are ecstatic over the news. He also thanked Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe for working to secure the former MP’s release.

UPDATE: MP Ramanayake has apologised to the court’s for a remark he had made in August 2017 that led to his imprisonment and a subsequent remark made to the media that he would not retract his original statement.

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.

On August 13, Ramanayake signed an affidavit apologising for the charges against him and the process of granting him a presidential pardon was expected to be finalised in under a month, according to his lawyers.

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/Aug25/2022)

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