IFJ Urges Full Investigation As Editor Granted Bail In Sri Lanka

 

 

 

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes

the release of editor Bennett Rupasinghe from detention in Sri Lanka but renews its call for authorities

to step up their investigation into the arson attack on his news outlet, Lanka-e-News.

 

In the Kaduwela Magistrates Court on April 7, Magistrate Jayaki de Alwis refused a police request to extend

Rupasinghe’s detention for another two weeks.

 

Rupasinghe,

68, was released on cash bail of LKR 10,000 and personal bail of LKR 300,000

(USD 2700), after being detained at Welikada prison in Colombo since March 31.

 

Rupasinghe,

who denies accusations of making threatening calls to a suspect in the January

31 arson

attack, was warned by the magistrate not to interfere in the

investigation.

 

“The IFJ is

relieved that Rupasinghe was granted bail but maintains its call to authorities

to conduct a full and transparent investigation into the attack on Lanka-e-News,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director

Jacqueline Park said.

 

“We urge power-holders in Sri Lanka to ensure the safety and

protection of Rupasinghe and his colleagues at Lanka-e-News, including journalists Shantha

Wijesooriya and Sanjaya Dassanayake.”

 

Wijesooriya

and Dassanayake allege recent state media reporting referring to them is

defamatory and false. They also report being watched by unknown persons.

 

“Reports of intimidation of Lanka-e-News personnel are extremely worrying in a

context where Sri Lanka’s

independent media continues to be challenged by efforts to counter critical

commentary, and grave fears are held for missing Lanka-e-News columnist Prageeth Eknaligoda,” Park said.

 

Local

organisations joined forces under the umbrella of the Sri Lanka Alliance of Media Organisations to conduct a

silent protest outside the Kaduwela court as Rupasinghe’s case was heard

yesterday.

 

Rupasinghe’s next hearing

is scheduled for July 7.

 

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ represents 600,000 journalists in 125 countries

 

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on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

 

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