Thursday, April 01, 2010

CRNI calls on the Sri Lankan govt. to account for missing journalist's whereabouts

Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI) has called on the Sri Lankan Government to reveal the condition of missing Sri Lankan web journalist and cartoonist Prageeth Ekneligoda, who disappeared on January 24, 2010.

In a statement issued on Monday (29), CRNI condemned the inability of the relevant authorities to investigate the disappearance of the cartoonist and called on the "Sri Lankan government to account for his whereabouts and physical condition."

The full text of the statement follows:

"CRNI calls on the Government of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksha to stop avoiding responsibility for the whereabouts and condition of Prageeth Eknaligoda, a cartoonist and web journalist who has been missing since January 24, 2010 in Colombo. CRNI supports the peaceful demonstrations scheduled this week in Colombo calling for political accountability and relief from the growing harassment that journalists feel from government during the run-up to Parliamentary elections to be held on April 8th 2010.

CRNI calls on all political cartoonists to bring the case of this "disappeared" cartoonist to the attention of their readers.

After first reporting his disappearance, Eknaligoda's wife had been harassed by police and other services of the Sri Lankan government for making equerries about her husband's disappearance.

Police delayed the investigation, saying that they had "lost the file" a not very cleaver admission of either purposeful obfuscation or an admission of incompetence.

The stories coming out of both government officials and the police are contradictory and seem only to be intended to stop her from seeking accountability. Since the intervention of key international human rights organizations about a week ago the police harassment has stopped but the Eknaligoda home is still under daily surveillance.

Eknaligoda was associated with opposition leader General Sarath Fonseka who had been arrested by the Rajapaksha government after recent elections.

CRNI also calls on the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksha to account for his whereabouts and physical condition."

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