Al-Jazeera correspondent for Sri Lanka, Dinouk Colombage was grilled by the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) yesterday, just weeks after Rajapaksa state-owned newspaper Editor, Rajpal Abeynayake called for his arrest.
Colombage’s lawyers have stated that the CID has interrogated him concerning the reports he filed to Al-Jazeera and a Twitter update he had posted on the ground situation in Aluthgama and Beruwala following the anti-Muslim clashes.
He had been questioned regarding his news sources and had been extensively grilled over how he got the number of deaths as well as other sensitive details included in his coverage. The interrogation had lasted for three hours and Colombage had even been questioned about his association with Al- Jazeera.
It has also been reported that his lawyers were not permitted to witness the questioning.
Police Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana has stated he was questioned by the CID due to contradictions in the number of deaths that was reported by Colombage and the official numbers released by the government.
This interrogation also occurs following a tweet put up by Media Ministry Secretary Charitha Herath, who condoned the recent ruling on the three Al-Jazeera journalists, which was recorded by Colombo Telegraph before he took it off.
In the aftermath of the anti-Muslim clashes that erupted in Southern Sri Lanka on June 15 and 16, several Muslim politicians have pointed out that the number of deaths has been downplayed; the official government reports claim it is only three/ But Colombage’s repors and tweets stated that it was seven and it has been confirmed by several other politicians including Azath Salley.