06/15/2018, 15.47
SRI LANKA
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Sri Lankan Buddhist monk convicted of threatening wife of missing journalist

by Melani Manel Perera

Sandhaya Priyangani Eknaligoda was verbally attacked on 25 January 2016 in the Homagama courthouse. Her husband is a famous political cartoonist who disappeared in 2010. The court jails the culprit and imposes fines to compensate the plaintiff.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – A court sentenced a radical Buddhist monk to six months in prison and two fines worth 4,500 rupees (US$ 30) for intimidation and uttering threats.

The accused, Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero, is the general secretary of the Bodhu Bala Sena organisation.

He was convicted of verbally attacking Sandhaya Priyangani Eknaligoda, wife of Prageeth Eknaligoda, a journalist and political cartoonist who went missing on 24 January 2010, on the eve of elections that marked the triumph of Mahinda Rajapska over General Sarath Fonseka.

Prageeth worked for an independent online newspaper that backed Fonseka. For this reason, the family has always accused supporters of Rajapaksa of organising the kidnapping.

To get justice but also to know the truth about his fate, the wife has tried for years to raise awareness about the case.

The attack against her dates back to 25 January 2016 when she was threatened in a courthouse in Homagama.

The ruling by district judge Udesh Ranatunga came yesterday. He found the monk guilty on two counts. For the first (threats), he was sentenced to pay 3,000 (US$ 20); for the second (intimidation), he has to pay a fine of 1,500 rupees (US$ 10).

The court also granted Sandhaya Eknaligoda 50,000 rupees (US$ 315) in compensation. In case the monk refuses to pay, his jail sentence would be increased by three months.

"I am happy with this sentence,” Sandhaya Eknaligoda told AsiaNews. “With this decision we can still have confidence that justice will be granted to all victims in the future.”

“I do not care how many months he will serve behind the bars, nor the amount of the fine. I am really satisfied that the court accepted my complaint."

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