For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
Press release/ 14.11.2011
The Free Media Movement (FMM) expresses its serious concern on the statement made by the former Attorney- General Mr. Mohan Pieris that the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) has confirmed information of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda living in a foreign country as a political refugee. Mr. Pieris is presently the senior legal adviser to the President Rajapaksha.
Mr. Mohan Pieris has made this statement on 9th November 2011 before the United Nations Committee against Torture (CAT) in Geneva, Switzerland. He was responding on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka to the questions posed by the members of the CAT. FMM is puzzled as to why Mr. Pieris didn’t mention the country where Prageeth Eknaligoda has been given political asylum if they have the information. Mr. Mohan Pieris is not an average person. He is a powerful government official, a former Attorney-General, the President’s senior legal adviser and a permanent member of the Sri Lankan delegation that attends the United Nations Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva. In this context, it is a clear responsibility of the GOSL and Mr. Pieris to prove the said statement made in Geneva.
It has been almost two years since the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda has taken place. Until today it has not being resolved. In the last two years, the Free Media Movement as well as national and international press freedom organizations have consistently called on the GOSL to solve the disappearance of Prageeth Eknaligoda and to bring the culprits to the book. If the statement made by Mr. Mohan Pieris is true then the GOSL has an excellent opportunity to expose the truth of his disappearance.
The FMM would like to see the GOSL making its position clear as soon as possible in reference this statement. At the same time, the FMM hopes that police investigation into the disappearance of Eknaligoda will take note of Mr. Pieris’ statement and will take the necessary steps to record a proper statement from Mr. Pieris on the issue.
Finally, the FMM demands that the police makes their observations and conclusions on the disappearance of journalist Eknaligoda public after obtaining information from Mr. Mohan Pieris.