SRI LANKA: A journalist is receiving death threats from police after his torture and arrest on false charges

Former President of National Students Federation Pakistan

Former President of National Students Federation Pakistan

 

 KNOWLEDGE                              STRUGGLE                                   VICTORY

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding death threats being made by police officers against a journalist, who has been twice arrested, tortured and remanded on tenuous charges, and is complaining accordingly.

 

I hear that lately men in a white van have been calling late at night at his house to ask for him, yet the victim is receiving no state protection and is in hiding.

Senaka Ekanayake is seeking redress for his illegal arrest and torture by the allegedly drunken colleagues of Kalapitya OIC, Mr. Lakshman Ranwalarachchi (whom the journalist was investigating in 2007), and for almost a year in remand for falsely laid charges by the Galkiriyagama Police. He has reported continual harassment from police officers since his first release on bail in December 2007.

To protest both the false charges and his torture in custody – which left him with numerous injuries and without three of his teeth – Senaka Ekanayake has been seeking redress from the National Human Rights Commission (complaint HRD341/08, and a second letter 18/09/09)), the National Police Commission (in letters dated 24/01/08 and 29/05/09), to the President (29/04/09, replied to by the President’s assistant). Various letters have come back to him from the recipients, assuring him that inquiries are being made, but none have materialized. Instead of finding remedy I hear that the victim has been forced into hiding between court appearances. Death threats have been reaching him by phone and at home in Monaragala.

As a journalist Senaka Ekanayake knows that his fears are well founded. His peers are threatened, intimidated, kidnapped, beaten and even assassinated in incidents that appear increasingly state sanctioned. As someone fighting police corruption, he in even graver danger. Sri Lankans such as Gerald Perera and Sugath Nishanta Fernando have been assassinated in recent years for following through with cases against officers, despite threats, intimidation and bribery, yet Sri Lankans such as these are simply requesting their legal rights.

I would like to remind you that under both domestic and international law the government of Sri Lanka is responsible for securing the safety of of Mahanuwara Rajawasala Ratnayaka Mahanilamelage Isiwara Senaka Ekanayake while his cases are underway, ensuring that his trial is fair and that his complaints are adequately filed and investigated. The officers charged with his false arrest and torture should be temporarily removed from service, according to the procedural code. Should their illegal conduct be proven they must be charged accordingly, and the victim provided with compensation and all necessary protection. The National Human Rights Commission and the National Police Commission should also be exercising their mandates to ensure all of the above.

For your ready reference, names of alleged perpetrators:
1. Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Lakshman Ranwalarachchi
2. Sub Inspector Arawin
3. Police Constable Sunil (no. 12601)
4. Police Constable Dhammika (no. 33446)
5. Sergeant Indunil (no. 24011)
All staff at Kalpitiya police station in 2008
6. Officer Prasanna Walikala
7. Sub Inspector Wanasingha
Both of the Galkiriyagama Police station, and alleged to have fabricated a set of charges, along with other officers.
I strongly urge the regional community to voice this concern with us. This is not the time that we should wall behind our geographiocal boundaries. We have to support all who are being persecuted, illegally, at least in our region.
Plus I strongly Urge the Inspector General of Police and the Secretary of Srilankan State to please look into the issue. To imagine, what impression we giving t the world? I, Faheem Aamer, a Pakistani voice my concern on behalf of the people of Pakistan for Mahanuwara Rajawasala Ratnayaka Mahanilamelage Isiwara Senaka Ekanayake (usually known as ‘Senaka Ekanayake’); journalist; former editor of SATANA. Saving this person will be saving the dignity of our region. 
Friends, use all your means to usrge Shah Mehmood Qureshi to raise the issue on Diplomatic level and do comment.
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