October 18, 2019
Colombo: A Sri Lankan court on Friday sentenced Hambantota Mayor Eraj Ravindra Fernando to five years in jail for threatening to physically harm a group of parliamentarians in 2014. Along with Fernando, the first accused in the case Premasiri Paranamana was also sentenced five years in jail, according to news portal Hiru News. Both have been ordered to a pay a fine of Rs 60,000. In 2014, Fernando, holding a pistol, threatened to physically harm a group of Opposition MPs who had gone to Hambantota to inspect Chinese investment projects. He had chased the MPs out of the project site. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USLater, Fernando, who was an ally of the then president Mahinda Rajapaksa, claimed it was a toy pistol. However, the MPs filed a case against Fernando for intimidation and attempted assault. Hambantota is the home turf of Rajapaksa. Fernando is now a supporter of President Maithripala Sirisena. He was re-elected as the mayor of Hambantota in 2018. Earlier, Fernando had been granted bail after being arrested in two other cases of violence. The Chinese built USD 1.9 billion port in Hambantota has court political controversy. In 2017, Sri Lanka had leased the Hambantota Port to China for 99 years as a means of paying back its loans for a new investment park there. India is set to enter into a management contract with Sri Lanka to run the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, the other Chinese infrastructure project located in the district.