Wife of missing Sri Lankan journalist receives threats

Sandya Eknaligoda, wife of missing Sri Lankan journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda, has received continuous death threats and abuses through social media after the sentencing of a monk to six months rigorous imprisonment for criminally intimidating her.

Sandhya Eknaligoda speaking to the media during the court investigation into Prageeth's disappearance. Credit: Sunanda Deshapriya

Sandya Eknaligoda, wife of missing Sri Lankan journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda, has received continuous death threats and abuses through social media after the sentencing of a monk to six months rigorous imprisonment for criminally intimidating her.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the Free Media Movement (FMM) Sri Lanka in condemning the threats and intimidation to Sandya Eknaligoda; and urges the Sri Lankan authorities to probe the threats and ensure her safety.

The General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena Galagodaththe Gnanasara has been sentenced to six months of rigorous imprisonment for threatening Sandhya. He was found guilty on two counts of harassing and intimidating her in January 25, 2016. Prageeth has been missing since January 2010.

After the sentencing, Sandya has been facing harassment and intimidation, largely via social media networks. Sandya says Facebook messages from unknown users have been pouring in since the judgment was given in the criminal intimidation case this month. She said: “Without knowing the real situation or the facts of the case, people are mentally tormenting me and my children.”

FMM Convener C Dodawatta said: “The FMM views the threats directed against Sandya Eknaligoda in the aftermath of the Court verdict, as a grave threat to media freedom. She  has been on a quest to discover the whereabouts of her missing husband, continuously fighting for his rights. The FMM condemns such threats as a grave hindrance to media freedom in the country.”

IFJ said: “The IFJ condemns the death threats and intimidation to Sandya Eknaligoda, the wife of missing Sri Lankan journalist Prageeth. It’s sad that her continuous struggle to know the whereabouts of her husband is not bringing in concrete results and lacks robust support from the authorities. The IFJ urges the Sri Lankan authorities to investigate the threats to her and ensure her safety.”

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