Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes reports that a habeas corpus petition
submitted by the family of missing Lanka-e-News cartoonist and columnist Prageeth Eknaligoda will be considered by a court of
appeal in Sri Lanka on May 26.
Eknaligoda’s wife Sandhya filed
the petition with a Colombo
court in August 2010, after six hearings into the case of Prageeth’s
disappearance on January 24, 2010 yielded no significant progress. Senior State
Counsel Sameendra Wickrama confirmed that objections to the petition had
already been filed and encouraged the petitioners’ counsel Krishmal
Warnakulasuriya to file counter-objections, according to local media reports.
The news of the petition’s
consideration comes after the Eknaligoda family’s calls for diplomatic pressure
and international solidarity actions by the IFJ and other organisations to help
expedite investigations into Prageeth’s disappearance. Sandhya Eknaligoda
requested the assistance of the United
Nations in a
letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon shortly after the first anniversary
of her husband’s disappearance in January. IFJ affiliates from around the world showed their
solidarity by contacting their local Sri Lankan
missions to express their concerns at the police and security agencies’ failure
to trace the missing journalist.
“While it is disappointing that
this petition is only being considered now, more than a year after Prageeth Eknaligoda
disappeared, any progress in investigating his whereabouts is most welcome,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
“The IFJ joins defenders of human
rights and press freedom worldwide in demanding authorities seize this
opportunity to conduct legitimate investigations into Prageeth’s
Eknaligoda vanished two days
before Sri Lanka’s
presidential election of January 26, 2010, amid a deepening safety crisis for
journalists and media workers in the country.
For further information contact IFJ
Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125
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