FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION SRI LANKA

For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya

Lanka Mirror employees granted leave to proceed with rights case

The Supreme Court yesterday granted leave to proceed with the fundamental rights violation application filed by six employees of the Lanka Mirror Web.
Leave was granted on the alleged illegal arrest, alleged denial of engaging in lawful occupation of choice and the alleged denial of freedom of expression.
The petitioners had said that the CID, on June 29, 2012, arrested them at their Kotte office though there was no basis for such an arrest. The CID had suspected them of publishing news defamatory of the government and of the President. But such material was not in the tapes recovered from their computer. Saliya Pieris, instructed by Nilanthi Peiris appeared for the petitioners.

Deputy Solicitor General Shavindra Fernando, appearing for the Attorney General, said that only about three out of the eight computers taken into custody had been investigated upto date. They had tapes on child pornography and news defamatory of the judiciary. The investigations were yet to be completed, by a team of experts from the computer division of the Colombo Campus. A completed report would be submitted to the Court shortly, he said.

“When child abuse was rampant in this country how could the CID ignore a place where child porn tapes were recovered, the

DSG said adding that the Lanka Mirror had been suspected of giving news to other banned webs and that issue was also being investigated.

The petitioners are R. W. Premawathie, Chandima Manawaduge, R. P. D. Tharindu Kawshalya, Ajith Seneviratne, Himashi Karunaratne and Kalum Shirathi Rodrigo.

The petition will be argued on February 7, 2013.
The Bench comprised Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, Justice K. Sripavan and Justice Eva Wanasundera.
By Chitra Weerarathne
http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=57749

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