Writer Shakthika released on bail

Tuesday, 6 August 2019 01:22 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Writer Shakthika Sathkumara, who has been in jail for over four months for penning a controversial short story, was granted bail by the Kurunegala High Court yesterday. 

Sathkumara was released on a cash bail of Rs. 100,000 and two sureties of Rs. 100,000 each by High Court Judge Menaka Jayasundara when he was presented to Court on Monday. 

He was also ordered to report to the Polgahawela Police Station on the last Sunday of the month.

Attorney-at-law Chaminda Athukorale appeared for the suspect in the High Court.

Shakthika Sathkumara, an award-winning Sri Lankan writer, was arrested on 1 April, for writing a short story and sharing it on his Facebook profile. The fictional story he shared was about life in Buddhist temple, which allegedly hinted at child sexual abuse. 

Amnesty International last month declared the writer a “prisoner of conscience” and called for his immediate release. 

“Detained for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression, Shakthika Sathkumara is a prisoner of conscience and must be immediately and unconditionally released and all charges against him dropped,” the statement issued by the AI said.

He faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty as he is charged under Section 3(1) of ICCPR Act and Art. 291(B) of the Penal Code of Sri Lanka, which deals with propagating hatred and incitement of racial or religious violence.