Self-styled ‘prophet’ Jerome Fernando has been further remanded until 03 January 2024, on orders of the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court.

Pastor Jerome, arrested over several derogatory statements against various religious figures including Lord Buddha, was produced before the court again this morning (27 Dec.).

He was first placed behind bars on remand on 01 December, following his arrest by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), a few hours after he arrived at the premises to record a statement for the second consecutive day.

Pastor Fernando had made his first appearance at the CID on 30 November and provided a statement for around 08 hours.

He found himself in hot water after a video of one of his sermons went viral on social media, due to allegations that it included derogatory statements related to Lord Buddha and other religious figures.

Fernando then flew out to Singapore on 14 May, two days before the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court banned his foreign travels.

After months of controversy over his remarks, Fernando returned to the island on Wednesday morning (29 Nov.). He had arrived from Singapore on board a Qatar Airlines flight and left the airport through the Gold Route at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake.

As per a court directive, the CID’s Cyber Crime Investigation Division obtained a statement from the pastor within 48 hours of his arrival on the island.

On 17 November, the Court of Appeal ordered the CID not to arrest Pastor Fernando upon his arrival in the country. The ruling also mentioned Pastor Jerome should record a statement with the CID’s Cyber Crime Investigation Division within 48 hours of his arrival. 

This interim order was issued in respect of the petition filed by Pastor Fernando, seeking to prevent the CID from arresting him.