Former MP Ranjan Ramanayake, who received a conditional Presidential Pardon, was released from Welikada Prison on Friday (26).
However, according to the conditions under which he was granted the pardon, he would not be able to contest an election for a period of seven years from the date of his release.
Justice Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said Ramanayake has not been granted ‘complete’ freedom yet as he was imprisoned on charges of Contempt of Court.
“However, he might be able to contest an election when there is a necessity. According to the law he cannot contest elections for seven years. That is the law. But, granting complete freedom to him would be considered step by step, just like in the case of Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka,” Minister Rajapakshe explained.
The Justice Minister also said Ramanayake was granted a pardon under the Article 34 (1) of the Constitution.
Speaking to the media after leaving the Welikada Prison, Ramanayake said he will continue to fight against corruption as promised to the Justice Minister.
Ramanayake thanked the President, Opposition Leader, Justice Minister and all those who worked tirelessly for his release.
Refuting claims that he would change his stance, the former MP said that he will engage in politics as he wants to contest an election and serve the people again.
“I will also continue my actions against those who robbed innocent citizens of this country,” he added.
Addressing a media briefing later, Ramanayake revealed that he is prohibited from speaking on certain matters according to the conditions of the Presidential Pardon given to him.
“I’d love to speak like I used to, but I cannot,” he said.
He deemed it unfortunate to keep certain matters to himself, as he is “programmed to speak the truth.”
However, he asserted that he will not switch parties and will continue to fight against anti-corruption.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe signed the document granting Ramanayake Presidential Pardon on the condition that the former MP will not make any comments that defame the court in the future.
The necessary arrangements to release of Ramanayake were carried out by the Secretary of the Ministry of Justice.
On 12 January 2021, the former MP was sentenced to a four-year rigorous imprisonment by the Supreme Court on charges of contempt of court, following a statement he had made to media after a meeting at the Temple Trees on 21 August 2017 defaming judges and attorneys in the country.
Ramanayake directed an affidavit to the Supreme Court on 25 August apologising for his actions and stated that he would not repeat his behaviour again.
BY Tharaka Samman