COLOMBO: A Sri Lankan court today sentenced a firebrand Buddhist monk to six-years' rigorous imprisonment for contempt of court and ordered his immediate arrest.
Galagodatte Gnanasara had already been sentenced to six months in June for threatening the wife of a journalist in court premises.
He later got bail for the offence. Gnanasara who headed the extremist Buddhist nationalist group Bodu Bala Sena (Forces of Buddhist Power) was charged of carrying out threats against the Muslim minority and for contempt of court.
The Court of Appeal today handed Gnanasara additional sentence after finding him guilty for 4 counts. All sentences will run concurrently for a maximum jail sentence of six years.
The Appellate Court also ordered the immediate arrest of Gnanasara, who was out on bail pending the appeal after he was convicted by a lower court in May.
A 3-member bench charged him for misbehavior in court in 2015 when military suspects for abduction and disappearance of Prageeth Eknaligoda, a cartoonist was brought to court.
The magistrate in the Colombo suburban Homagama court had lodged the complaint for contempt of court against the monk.
Ganasara was widely believed to have incited Sinhalese Buddhist mobs to attack Muslim properties south of Colombo predominantly Muslim areas in 2014.
His lawyers said he had already appealed against today's verdict and the case will be taken up on August 29.
Yesterday, the monk had got himself admitted to the hospital claiming a kidney ailment. Gnanasara led anti-Muslim minority hatred during the former regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Muslims accused the then government of protecting him. With the change of the regime, Gnanasara's high handed action came in for accountability. Rigorous imprisonment in Sri Lanka typically sees convicts performing menial tasks around the prison.