For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
|Mirror journalists: unlawful arrest|
Colombo additional magistrate Prasanna Alwis today (Sept. 18) ordered the release of srilankamirror and srilankaxnews journalists, until such time notice is issued on them to appear before the court again.
The court was taking up a petition filed against the two news websites, accusing them of publishing articles defamatory of the president and inconveniencing the government.
The additional magistrate also ordered that the computers seized from the two websites during a raid, excepting their hard drives, be returned to Srilankamirror editor Kelum Shivantha.
CID inspector Anura de Silva consented to take charge of the computers, presently in the judicial custody, make statements from all respondents regarding the computers, remove their hard drives at the computer unit of the Colombo University and return them to the editor.
The additional magistrate said he issued the order considering the fact that it would take a considerable length of time to inspect data in the computers.
In addition to editor Shivantha, Srilankamirror photographer Ajith Seneviratne, journalists Himashi Karunaratne, Tharindu Rajapakse, marketing manager Asanka Nivantha and srilankaxnews journalists Subhash Jayawardena and Siddique Kariappar appeared at the hearing, all represented by lawyer Upul Kumarapperuma.
The CID, armed with a court order, arrested the journalists during a raid on their office on June 29 and were released on police bail on the following day.
They were arrested under clauses 115, 118 and 120 of the Penal Code, although clause 118 has since been amended through clause no: 12 of 2002.