Monday, February 22, 2010

Wife's plea for Prageeth's release


The wife of a Sri Lankan journalist who disappeared mysteriously almost a month ago has appealed to the authorities to do more to find him.

The journalist, Prageeth Eknaligoda, who writes for Lankaenews website that carries dissenting views, went missing two days before the presidential election last month.

The fresh appeal on behalf of the journalist comes at a time when media rights groups say Sri Lanka has become one of the most dangerous places for journalists to carry out their work.

His colleagues say during the presidential election campaign Mr Eknaligoda wrote articles in favour of the defeated opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka.

State media allegations

The wife of the journalist, Sandhya Eknaligoda says her family is now really worried about his safety as an investigation into his disappearance hasn't made any headway.

A few days ago, she also filed a petition in a court seeking judicial intervention to find her husband's whereabouts.

Mrs Eknaligoda denied reports in state media that her husband has been hiding somewhere.

“I also saw these reports and informed the police and the officials at the human rights commission,” she told BBC Sinhala service, Sandeshaya.

“I told them that the information may be useful for their investigations.”

Mr Eknaligoda's colleagues believe that the pro-government supporters may be responsible for his disappearance. The government denies the allegations.

A police spokesman told BBC correspondent in Colombo, Anbarasan Ethirajan, that there had been some progress in the investigation.

Irida Lanka

Earlier this week an editor of a Sri Lankan newspaper was released after eighteen days in detention under the country's emergency regulations.

The editor Chandana Sirimalwatte, who's supportive of the opposition JVP, says he was released without any charges.

Media rights groups accuse the authorities of intimidating and harassing journalists critical of the government's policies.

Official figures show that nine journalists have been killed and more than twenty-five assaulted in the past four years in Sri Lanka.

The government says it has nothing to do with either the killings or the attacks on journalists.

© BBC Sinhala

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