1 March, 2024


Sri Lanka Official Has ‘No Idea’ Of Reporter’s Fate

By Charles Haviland/BBC –

A senior Sri Lankan official has said that he has no idea about the whereabouts of a disappeared journalist seven months after saying he believed the man was alive and living abroad.

Human rights activists say that the remarks of former Attorney-General Mohan Peiris betray insensitivity to the plight of missing people.

Mr Peiris's evidence to the court has been described as somewhat confused

They say that is especially so at a time when disappearances are ongoing.

Several dozen of such cases have been reported since October.

The government denies any role in enforced disappearances.

It says that accounts of them are inaccurate.

But critics of the government say its involvement is suspected.

Mr Peiris was called before a magistrates’ court looking into the disappearance two years ago of journalist and cartoonist Prageeth Ekneligoda.

The court wanted to hear more on his assertion – made before a UN committee in November – that he believed Mr Ekneligoda was alive and living in a foreign country.

That statement came despite an emotional and public campaign by Mr Ekneligoda’s wife, Sandhya, to try and find him.

In court, Mr Peiris – now a legal adviser to the cabinet – gave a confused account of what he had actually said in Geneva, saying both that he had heard it from “intelligence” and from “hearsay”.

Testifying just yards away from Mrs Ekneligoda, he said “we do not know the truth or falsity” of the matter and he wished he could shed more light on it.

Under cross-examination, he said he could not recall which government department gave him the information that Mr Ekneligoda was alive.

Mr Peiris, who had not wanted to appear at the magistrates’ court, refused to answer BBC questions outside the courtroom.

After the hearing, human rights campaigner Nimalka Fernando accused the government of behaving irresponsibly.

“If you look at the manner in which these responsible people – who are also supposed to be advisers to the cabinet – behave, it shows the utter insensitivity that they have to the crime of disappearances,” she said.

Sandhya Ekneligoda said she and her two sons had hoped for new information from Mr Peiris but she had come away disappointed.

Mr Ekneligoda worked for an anti-government website, Lankaenews.com, and vanished two days before the 2010 presidential election which saw incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa beat former army chief Sarath Fonseka.

Among those who have disappeared in the past six months are two young activists who had themselves organised regular demonstrations by families of disappeared people.

Related news;  Was Prageeth Abducted For His Journalism Or For Mailing Human Ash?

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Latest comments

  • 0

    What is the role of a state attorney or An Attorney General?

    To protect the power holders?

    I am not naive enough to tell you to represent the poor folk. It was not the case in past and won´t be in future.

    An Attorney General who says ” Only God knows where Pregeeth is” is a very poor certificate for SL, the present govt and all others who blindly represent this bloody corrupted country.

    All these corrupted people who once enjoyed our trust like Vasudeva Nanayakara, Dayan Jayathilake etc., gives you the rear cover

    You, the man who should protect the human rights values in a contitutional state, protect these corrupted mafia and we all are disappointed.

    What kind of moral do you teach your kids? In which school you learned your lessons? In which law college you made your courier? Do you have a conscience?

    • 0

      Yes, he is correct. Only the Christian God knows what former Attorney General did with Defense Secretary. They strongly believe that even devoted Christians should not come to know the secrets known to God, Gota and Mohan. They all are suitable to work in hell even before their demise.

  • 0

    Sandiya,Sorry to tell you, you were born in a wrong state, married to a right husband.

    • 0

      No Vasu, both of them are innocent and born in the correct land but at the wrong time with wrong people.

  • 0

    A country or responsible society cannot call itself democratic or responsible if it cannot protect and account for every citizen that forms that country/nation – and that too in minimum time. The Constitution, if to be taken seriously, demands it. The various laws of the country are structured to reveal where a citizen lives, works and so on. If a prominent citizen, like Prageeth, is missing for such a long time, despite the media and public hue and cry, the ruling regime has much to hide is the obvious conclusion. The callous dismissal of this pampered and uncaring official needs to be widely condemned.


  • 0

    both of them are innocent and born in the correct land but at the wrong time with wrong people.

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