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Pastor Jerome remanded

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suspect had left country with full understanding of situation that prevailed:
CID states comprehensive investigation ongoing:

Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage yesterday ordered the remand of Frederic Christopher Jerome Fernando alias ‘Pastor Jerome’, who was arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on charges of making offensive statements that led to religious disharmony, until December 13.

The Magistrate noted that sufficient facts have been filed before Court suggesting that the suspect had committed an offence under the ICCPR by delivering a sermon at the Miracle Dome which belongs to him, on April 30. The Magistrate added that the Court is of the view that the release of the suspect is an impediment in the enforcement of law according to the circumstances presented.

President’s Counsel Anura Meddagoda making submissions before Court noted that the statement made by the suspect was apparently an offence under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and argued that the suspect be released on bail. The Magistrate noted that the prosecution has filed facts before the Court that the suspect’s statement on April 30 has caused tension between Buddhists and followers of other religions. He said that the complaint in this regard had been made on May 15 which is 15 days later and during that time, his statement caused unrest in society as it gained wide publicity.

The Magistrate also noted that the suspect had left the country with full understanding of the situation that prevailed.

The suspect was arrested after an investigation based on a complaint made by the Executive Director of the Buddhist Information Centre, Ven Angulugalle Sri Jinananda Thera. The CID produced the suspect’s CD related to the one-hour prayer and placed the suspect in judicial custody.

The CID cited that the comprehensive investigation is being conducted into the suspect and the organizations belonging to the suspect have received a large amount of money from foreign countries .The CID investigators informed court that they will file a detailed report in the next few days on whether the suspect has obtained undue profit and whether the suspect can be charged under the Money Laundering Act. The CID requested that the suspect be remanded in custody.

A team of lawyers led by President’s Counsel Anura Meddegoda appeared for the suspect. The prosecution was led by CID SSP Kavinda Piyasekera and ASP Santhanarayana.

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