#Human Rights
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Presidential Secretariat, Colombo 1, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka

For the past 26 years, Sri Lanka has been wracked by a civil war between the security forces (who are mostly from the majority Sinhalese community) and the armed Tamil opposition group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who sought an independent state for the Tamil minority in the north and east of the island.

The war ended in May 2009 with the defeat of the LTTE by the government. Since 2006, journalists and other media workers have been prime targets for attack. At least 14 media workers have been the victims of unlawful killings since the beginning of 2006; one has allegedly disappeared in the custody of the security forces, while others have been tortured and arbitrarily detained.

Emergency regulations issued by the Sri Lankan President have been used to silence critical media and generally violate freedom of expression in Sri Lanka, including through detention without charge or trial for periods lasting up to 18 months.

I am deeply concerned about Prageeth Eknaligoda, a Sri Lankan journalist and political analyst working for the organization Lanka-e-News. On January 24, 2010, he disappeared shortly after leaving work at the Lanka-e-News office in Homagama, near Colombo.

Local residents told the Sri Lankan press that they had seen a white van without number plates close to his house around that time. The last contact with him was at 9:30 P.M. that day; since then, his phone has not functioned and his friends and family have not heard from him. In the days leading up to his disappearance he had told a close friend that he believed he was being followed.

On January 25, 2010, his wife, Sandya Eknaligoda, went to lodge a complaint with the Homagama police about his presumed abduction. Instead of promptly responding to her complaint, the police detained her for several hours at the police station before releasing her. Since 2006, at least 14 media workers have been killed in Sri Lanka, with no one held accountable for these murders. Numerous journalists have been detained while others have left the country after receiving death threats. Physical attacks and the relentless intimidation of journalists are threatening freedom of expression in Sri Lanka. The disappearance of Mr. Eknaligoda on January 24 is but one example. I respectfully request that the Sri Lankan government investigate the disappearance of Prageeth Eknaligoda, make the results of the investigation public and hold accountable those responsible for his disappearance.

I would also request that the government investigate the conduct of the police personnel responsible for registering Sandya Eknaligoda’s complaint about her husband’s abduction and take appropriate disciplinary action against those personnel. I would also ask that the Sri Lankan government end the climate of impunity that has allowed a long campaign of intimidation and violence against independent journalists in Sri Lanka.

Thank you for your consideration.

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The Investigate the Disappearance of Sri Lankan Journalist, Prageeth Eknaligoda petition to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Presidential Secretariat, Colombo 1, Sri Lanka was written by ACC Amnesty International Student Group and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.