President Mahinda Rajapakse following requests made by the Maha Sangha headed by Ven. Prof. Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thera has reduced the jail sentence of former Minister S.B. Dissanayake facilitating his immediate release.
Accordingly, Dissanayake (Prisoner Number H 21569) will be released from the Welikada Magazine prison.
A press release issued by the President`s Office stated that President Rajapakse has conveyed his decision to Justice and Judicial Reforms Minister Amarasiri Dodangoda yesterday to take immediate action to release S.B. Dissanayake.
President Rajapakse had reduced the sentence of S.B. Dissanayake under the powers vested in him by the Constitution.
Former UNP Parliamentarian and former Minister S.B. Dissanayake was sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment for Contempt of Court, by a five Judge Supreme Court Bench headed by Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva following a unanimous verdict on December 7, 2004. Dissanayake was sentenced for defaming the Supreme Court during a speech he made at a Vap Magul ceremony held in Habaraduwa in November 2003.
Colombo district MP Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera told the media yesterday that Dissanayake would arrive on Friday afternoon at the Viharamahadevi Park where his supporters are engaged in a Satyragraha campaign demanding his immediate release.
The press release stated that the President has taken this decision specially following a request made by the Maha Sangha from the President after visiting him at Temple Trees on Tuesday.
The press release also stated that Viharadhipathi of the Bellanwila Raja Maha Vihara Ven. Prof. Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thera too made a written request from the President after visiting him at Temple Trees.
However, there was no immediate confirmation whether Dissanayake would be able to fully exercise his civic rights though his sentence was reduced. Dissanayake who was elected to the present Parliament lost his Parliamentary seat as the Supreme Court dismissed a writ application filed by him preventing the Parliamentary Secretary General from cancelling his Parliamentary seat.
Senior UNP Parliamentarian Renuka Herath was appointed to the vacant seat.