The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is
alarmed at reports of a home invasion and attempted abduction of Mawbima reporter Disnendra Perera at his Colombo
home in Sri Lanka on May 31.
According to local media
reports, Perera was not harmed in the incident. His mother, who was at home at
the time of the attack, has reportedly made an official complaint to the Piliyandala
police, who denied police involvement in the raid.
Perera, a close
colleague of Lanka-e-News journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda, who has been missing since
January 24, had previously received death threats from unknown people demanding
he give them a file of documents they claimed Eknaligoda had given him.
Both Perera and Eknaligoda
have ties to opposition parties in Sri Lanka. Perera was a former media
secretary to Sri Lanka Freedom Party (Mahajana) leader Mangala Samaraweera. Eknaligoda had published several
articles in support of defeated New Democratic Front presidential candidate and
former head of Sri Lanka’s
military, Sarath Fonseka.
“Reports of the attempted
abduction of Disnendra Perera is of grave concern to the IFJ, especially in
light of our deep concerns for the welfare of his friend and colleague Prageeth
Eknaligoda,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White
in January underscores the dangers that Sri Lankan journalists face in the
current political climate. Authorities must conduct a full and transparent investigation
into the disappearance of Eknaligoda and the attack on Perera’s home.”
Meanwhile on June 7 a Colombo magistrate
ordered senior Sunday Leader journalist
Frederica Jansz to produce her notes of a pre-election interview with Fonseka at
a hearing scheduled for June 21.
Jansz’s appearance in
court follows her solicitor’s refusal to produce the notebook, on the grounds
that Jansz had already given photocopies of the document to the Criminal Investigation
Department of the police.
The investigation into Jansz’s interview with Fonseka is especially
worrying following comments by Sri Lankan Defence Minister Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to
the BBC on June 6 when he called for the closure of the Sunday Leader and suggested Fonseka could be hanged as a traitor. Fonseka
has been held in custody since February 8, after his defeat in the country’s
presidential election and subsequent arrest on charges relating to an alleged coup
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