Campaign by Saliya Pieris to become the next President of Sri Lanka?

False Political

Sri Lanka has been amidst a severe political and economic crisis for a few months and public protests against the government were seen in many parts of the country. Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) and it`s president Saliya Pieris has been emphasizing the rights of people to protest peacefully and on several occasions have appeared to provide legal assistance as well, when the peaceful protesters had been attacked and harassed by the Police or security forces.

Within that background, we have noticed a number of misleading and false narratives shared on social media about the BASL and its current president Saliya Pieris. Here is our investigation on one such claiming Saliya Pieris advocating to become the next president of Sri Lanka.

Social Media Posts

Claims being spread virally in WhatsApp as the statements made by BASL president Saliya Pieris, in a bid to run for next presidency can be seen below.

I protected you before. I’ll protect you again. 

The foundation of justice is anarchy and rebellion. This is my pledge. This is my vow.  Stand with me

Who is a government? What is law? The people’s will, will be manifest. This is my stand

Law isn’t justice. Law isn’t equity. My fight will empower justice at any cost.

These were some of the statements which were mentioned in these viral posters claiming to be made from Saliya Pieris.

We also found a Facebook page, named as Saliya Peiris – Our Next President which had posted all the posters which later went viral on WhatsApp.

The Facebook was creator under the Politician category as seen below.

Facebook | Archived 

Fact Check

First, we checked on mainstream media whether BASL President Saliya Pieris had made such statements which are being shared in social media. However, we were unable to find any such media reports.

Then we contacted the BASL president Saliya Pieris, and he denied all the social media claims and said all those were fake and away from reality. He emphasized that he had not delivered such statements.

He further added that neither the BASL nor he personally were not a part of protests.

“However, as BASL and personally me as a person, appearing for the people’s right for peaceful protests which can be considered as one of the fundamental rights.”, he said.

And he pointed out that the fake Facebook page was the source of all those WhatsApp messages, and he didn’t have any connection with that Facebook page. 

“And I don’t have any hope to contest for Presidential election and I didn`t say any such thing.”, he said.

BASL president also said that few weeks ago there were similar false posts implying that he had shown interest for Prime Minister position as well.

We noticed that BASL president Saliya Pieris has been continuously targeted on social media for few weeks and recently a call recording had also been misattributed to him.

Read also: ශ්‍රී ලංකා නීතිඥ සංගමයේ සභාපති සාලිය පීරිස් මහතා සමග දුරකතන සංවාදයක් ද?

We inquired BASL treasurers’ views also on these viral posts, as some users had got confused whether these viral posts were regarding President of Sri Lanka or BASL presidency.

Mr Rajind Perera, treasurer BASL, clarified that the next BASL presidency elections would be held in February 2023 and said that “in any event Mr. Pieris cannot contest for a 3rd term under the Constitution of the BASL”.

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Conclusion

According to our investigation we were able to find out that viral purported claims are being shared as statements of BASL president Saliya Pieris. BASL president, PC Saliya Pieris and BASL both denied those claims and said those are blatantly false.

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Title:Campaign by Saliya Pieris to become the next President of Sri Lanka?

Fact Check By: Kalana Krishantha 

Result: False

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