2 December, 2020

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Eknelygoda’s Wife Latest Victim Of Sri Lankan Intolerance

By Bob Dietz

Bob Dietz

On Thursday and Friday we wrote about the ugly government backlash to last week’sU.N. Human Rights Council resolution calling for an investigation into Sri Lanka’s alleged abuses of international humanitarian law during its war with Tamil separatists.

That campaign of intimidation continues: In the magistrate’s court where Sandhya Eknelygoda has been trying to gain any information about the whereabouts of her husband Prageeth, who disappeared on January 24, 2010, she came under harsh questioning — observers at the court called it intentionally intimidating — from government lawyers about her presence at the UNHRC in Geneva.  Before she returned home from Switzerland, her name had been denounced in the government-controlled media as one of the government’s critics — several of whom have been denounced as “traitors.”

Eknelygoda told colleagues in Colombo that Monday’s entire court session was about how she went to Geneva, who funded her trip, why she betrayed her country, and how much she was paid to do that. Her lawyer objected to the line of questioning, but was overruled, she said.

When she had returned home on Sunday from Geneva, she told reporters, “I only wanted to bring the disappearance of my husband to the notice of the international community. But, those who are allied with the government insulted me, saying I went there to betray the country,” she said. You can see a video report of her statement onYouTube.

Eknelygoda and her two teenage sons have been waging a quiet but steadfast campaign to pressure the government for information about their husband and father. CPJ and four other media support groups

wrote to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in March 2011, asking for his intervention in the case. Ban referred the issue to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNESCO, where it has been allowed to languish, despite pleas from Eknelygoda and her supporters.

Nor has a January 2012 ruling by Sri Lanka’s Appeal Court that former Attorney General Mohan Peiris could be called in as a witness into the disappearance of Eknelygoda been acted on. In a November 2011 posting, “Sri Lanka’s savage smokescreen,” CPJ reported that Peiris told the Asian Human Rights Commission that Eknelygoda had taken refuge in a foreign country and that the campaign against his disappearance is a hoax, although he failed then and ever since to provide detailed information about where Eknelygoda had fled.

At the time, CPJ said that Peiris’s statements “do more than point up the government’s indifference to Eknelygoda’s fate and the mental anguish of his wife and two sons. Peiris’s statements highlight the disregard with which the government views international opinion.”

Given the response in the government-controlled media following last week’s Geneva vote, that indifference and disregard have moved on to outright hostility.

*Bob Dietz, coordinator of CPJ’s Asia Program, has reported across the continent for news outlets such as CNN and Asiaweek. He has led numerous CPJ missions, including ones to Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka. Follow him on Twitter @cpjasia and Facebook @ CPJ Asia Desk.

Related stories;

Was Prageeth Abducted For His Journalism Or For Mailing Human Ash?

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Latest comments

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    I dont agree totally with the UNHCR.. As i think the res came beacuse of LTTE diaspora and CH4.. and only RESTRICTED TO THE WAR but not Human rights to the Entire Island.. Now saying that alot of things have to change.. The poice and LAw must do their JOB and independent of politics.. I want to even see corrupt and Criminal politicians and bodyguards go to Jail.. and let the Journalist do their Job.. If we disagree we can debate the bet form.. We as a nation have to change in order to be a strong nation.. We dont want to act and be like the LTTE terrorist who many died not be like.. So GOSL must must change its ways.. and implement a code of conduct for its ministers and even the president.. Police and LAW courts have to be independent..

    • 0
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      I agree with your observations. Terrorists, such as the LTTE, deserved to
      receive the same treatment as that which they meted out to others. But governments should act responsibly and treat their citizens as per norms of decency and humanity.

  • 0
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    eknaligoda must be living in europe [Edited out] .now there is good srilankan media team making lot money

  • 0
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    These Eknaligoda type vanishing into thin air trick is an organized racket.All these Bobs and Johnnys are part of it.No sweat,easy money.Bloody crooks.

    • 0
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      oh realy max do they pay for vanishig ?first time i heard it thanks for information.

  • 0
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    Ekneligoda is but one of many who have ‘disappeared’.Many journalists have fled sri lanka.If any magistrate allows witnesses to be intimidated,he is unfit to hold his post.
    Those who publicise human rights violations are labelled “betrayers”.
    Are those who suffer in silence,”patriots”?

  • 0
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    She spoke for approximately 2 mts on her husband. Just for the record.

  • 0
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    There is so much duplicity, double games, psychological operations, hidden agendas,deception and moral depravity that it is hard to draw conclusions from what is reported or alleged. This state of affairs shows social degradation, not progressive development or gradual maturing…

  • 0
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    Raja kudda murdered him for telling his past history and his body was dump in to the ocean.

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