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Sri Lanka: No Progress in Investigating Journalist’s Disappearance

[AlertNet, Tuesday, 25 January 2011 16:16 One Comment]

The Sri Lankan journalist and political cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda was abducted a year ago, but there has been no sign of a serious investigation by the Sri Lankan authorities, Human Rights Watch said today. Eknaligoda disappeared after leaving work the evening of January 24, 2010, and has not been seen since.

Eknaligoda was known for his cartoons critical of the Sri Lankan government. The cartoons were published by Lanka-e-News, a news website published in English, Tamil, and Sinhalese, and generally considered to be aligned with the opposition party, the Janath? Vimukthi Peramu?a (JVP).

Eknaligoda had been abducted once before, in August 2009, and was released the following day. He reported the incident to the authorities, but no one has been held accountable for the abduction.

The enforced disappearance of Eknaligoda, two days before the January 26, 2010 Sri Lankan presidential elections, is one of many unresolved cases of killings, attacks against, or abductions of critics of the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The government of Sri Lanka has a long history of media harassment and attacks on journalists. On January 8, 2009, unidentified men killed Lasantha Wickremetunga, the editor of the Sunday Leader newspaper who had been widely acclaimed for his investigative reporting. The investigation into his murder has failed to produce any results. Other cases include the destruction of Sirasa TV, the main independent TV station in Sri Lanka, in January 2009 by 15 to 20 masked men; the January 2009 attack on Upali Tennakoon, editor of the Sinhala-language, pro-government weekly Rivira; and the abduction and beating of the journalist Poddala Jayantha in June 2009.

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