Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) politburo member Kumar Gunaratnam, who was sentenced to one year's imprisonment for violating visa regulations, is to be released from the Anuradhapura Prison today (Nov. 2) after completing his sentence, the Prisons sources said yesterday.
He was sentenced to imprisonment by the Kegalle Magistrate on March 31, 2016. He was also fined Rs.50,000.
Confirming that Mr. Gunaratnam would be released today, the FSP yesterday said it would submit a fresh application to the Immigration and Emigration Department today itself seeking Sri Lankan citizenship for Gunaratnam.
FSP propaganda secretary Pubudu Jayagoda said they had applied for Sri Lankan citizenship for Mr. Gunaratnam on two previous occasions -- first on February 18, 2015 and next on November 2, 2015.
“The previous applications had been referred to the Ministry by the Department, and they have been stuck in the Ministry ever since. However, we shall apply again today,” he told Daily Mirror.
When asked if Mr. Gunaratnam would give up his Australian citizenship, Mr. Jayagoda said the Immigration Department here would have to grant him Sri Lankan citizenship first. According to international conventions, he said, a person should have citizenship of at least one country.
“If Australia revokes his citizenship, Kumar should have the citizenship of another country -- Sri Lanka,” he said.
He said they had met the Controller of Immigration and Emigration last evening and applied for a Sri Lankan visa for Kumar so that he could remain in the country after he was released, till his citizenship process was completed. Jayagoda said the Controller had issued the visa.
He said they would not immediately halt the Satyagraha outside the Fort Railway Station -- which they had launched calling for the release of Gunaratnam from prison.
“Today the objective of the Satyagraha is not only Kumar's release but also his gaining citizenship. We won’t call it off on account of Minister Nawinne’s remarks,” he said.
Internal Affairs Minister S. B. Nawinne had told in Parliament yesterday that Gunaratnam would be given Sri Lanka citizenship if he applied for it and gave up his Australian citizenship. (Lahiru Pothmulla)