Suspended sentence for blaspheming Buddha

by Sarath Malalasekera, Lanka Daily News, Oct 29, 2004

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- Chief Magistrate and Additional District Judge Ms. Sarojini Kusala Weerawardena yesterday sentenced Gamini Ranawaka of Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo, who was charged with superimposing the Buddha's image on women's clothing through the Internet, to two years rigorous imprisonment, suspended for five years.

The Judge also imposed a fine of Rs.1,500 on the accused. The accused earlier pleaded guilty to the charges.

Sentencing the accused, the Judge observed that the offence he had committed was very serious. Considering the medical condition of the accused the court was imposing a suspended sentence. However, if he is found guilty in the future for a similar offence, the Court would deal with him severely.

The Judge directed the CID to destroy the offensive pictures from the Internet and hand over the other productions to the IUCA, Colombo 7.

Earlier when the accused pleaded guilty to the charges, the Judge released him on cash bail in a sum of Rs.2,500 and a bond of Rs.50,000 with a surety.

The Judge earlier directed the officials of the Criminal Investigation Department to obtain a report from the Judicial Medical Officer in connection with the suspect's medical condition.