As Colombo Telegraph predicted, the Colombo Crimes Division has placed assaulted journalist Sujeewa Gamage under arrest for fabricating a complaint about his abduction and assault and inflicting injuries on himself.
In lightning quick time the Police said it has transformed its investigation to focus on why the journalist allegedly “fabricated” the events.
Police Spokesman Ajith Rohana said that Gamage had used a specific instrument in his home to cause himself injury, which CCD officials had recovered at the journalist’s residence.
Gamage’s lawyer said the police had said they were holding the journalist overnight on Wednesday (17) for trying to bring the government into disrepute. CCD officers who met Gamage’s attorney Namal Rajapakse at the gate said they were going to detain the journalist further because he had had the audacity to retain a lawyer. The CCD arrived at the Colombo National Hospital as soon as Sujeewa Gamage was discharged by his doctors after five days of treatment and took him in for questioning. Gamage and his wife were separately questioned for five or six hours soon after the recovering journalist was discharged from hospital. Eventually the CCD decided to arrest and detain the injured journalist overnight.
However on Thursday (18) the journalist was presented before the Magistrate. During the hearing Gamage sought to provide a confidential statement to the Magistrate under Section 127 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. In that statement, Gamage revealed how the CCD coerced his confession that he had faked his own abduction and torture. The journalist has pledged to reveal more in a public statement on Friday. Lawyers are expressing serious concern for his safety because of his decision to defy the CCD and reveal its horrendous misconduct.
In a clearly emerging pattern, every time the police turn its investigations towards the victim of a crime, the real attackers escape justice. The repetitive pattern will stop victims from complaining about attacks at all, lawyers said.
Unsurprisingly the media in Sri Lanka turned its eyes from the alleged attack on the journalist until the Police revealed after less than 24 hours of investigation that Gamage had made it all up. Despite the fact that the victim was a journalist himself, the media in Sri Lanka has failed to do even the most basic due diligence, media rights activists said. The way the media has reported the story has provided grist to the mill of government supporters who are claiming Gamage has followed in the footsteps of Swiss embassy staffer Garnier Francis. CID said Francis had also faked her alleged assault.
So swift to buy into the police narrative of such incidents, the media in Sri Lanka fail to ask basic questions about why any person – journalist or diplomatic staffer – in the climate of fear that currently prevails in Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka would put themselves at grave risk of prolonged arrest and prosecution on false charges, and even physical and mental harassment by making false complaints. In Gamage’s case it is unclear why he would cause injuries to himself that even required minor surgery.
Police Spokesman Ajith Rohana was never asked to reveal details of Gamage’s medical records, including the report of the Judicial Medical Officer who conducted an examination of the journalist to determine if the injuries were self-inflicted as the CCD claims.
In 2005-2015 the Rajapaksa Government was at the helm when a Samurdhi officer tied himself to a tree, an army officer beat himself up at a nightclub during an altercation with a politico’s thuggish son. In 2019 the Government started business off by claiming a staffer at the Swiss embassy faked her own abduction. Now the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government’s notorious Colombo Crimes Division has coerced a confession from a journalist claiming that he assaulted and burned himself. In August 2020 the CCD tried to coerce former CID officer SI Mendis to implicate SSP Shani Abeysekera through a false confession claiming that the ex CID director had planted evidence in the Vaas Gunewardane murder investigation.
The CCD once under the command of notorious contract killer former DIG Vaas Gunewardane now on death row has become the Government’s police agency of choice to carry out its witch-hunts. ASP Neville De Zoyza who the journalist Sujeewa Gamage has accused of coercing his confession was a linchpin of the Vaas Gunewardane contract killing operation at the CCD. In 2020 underworld kingpin Makandure Madush was killed in custody three days after being handed over to the CCD although CID was conducting initial investigations after his extradition. In Gamage’s case, the Dematagoda police – where the journalist’s complaint was originally made – handed the case over to the CCD. (By Chinthika De Silva)