With Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka joining the United National Front, questions have resurfaced about his involvement in attacks on media persons, including alleged abductions and killings of journalists, and whether justice will be meted out.
Keith Noyahr, the then Associate Editor of ‘The Nation’ newspaper, was abducted and severely beaten up immediately after he wrote an article titled ‘An army is not its commander’s private fiefdom.’ It is alleged that Fonseka was directly involved in the abduction.
According to a leaked US diplomatic cable dated June 2, 2008, Ambassador Robert Blake wrote: “ The Defense Secretary summoned two media workers from the government-owned publishing house. He reportedly harangued them for over two hours for participating in a rally to protest the abduction and beating of defense journalist Keith Noyahr. The journalists told us that Gotabaya told them that ‘groups that revere Army Commander Fonseka’ would kill them if they persisted in their campaign for media freedom.”
“Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that as Lake House employees, they were government servants who had no rights to take part in protests. Further, he said that criticism of the military leadership, particularly Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, and the conduct of the war would not be tolerated. He told the media workers that there were large numbers of military personnel who ‘revered Fonseka like a God,’ and that he could not control these people.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.
In this context, several media rights activists and organizations are pointing out that the credibility of the new regime has been compromised with respect to the commitment to restore law and order and more importantly guarantees given to the UN about investigating allegations of wrongdoing by the military during the last stages of the war.
A former Convener of the Free Media Movement (FMM) told Colombo Telegraph “This Government is yet to launch an investigation into the attack on Noyahr and we fear that there would be none with Fonseka joining the ranks of the Government.”
“He was one of the most prominent persons in the chain of command during the time that many media persons were abducted, attacked and killed. There were dozens of Tamil journalists and media workers working in the North and East who were killed while Fonseka was the Commander. It is understandable that the Rajapaksas did not investigate these killings because they were in power at the time and part of the Chain of Command. However, this Government does not have such obstacles and moreover it was expected that sooner or later investigations would be launched. Fonseka’s entry might put an end to all that,” he said.
With regard to the murder of Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, Lal, the brother of the slain editor reportedly said that Mahinda Rajapaksa had informed him that it was Fonseka who killed Lasantha. However, neither Rajapaksa or Fonseka have been questioned to verify the truth of this statement. It is however noteworthy to mention that both Lal and Wickrematunge’s wife, Sonali have been given diplomatic postings by the current administration.
Saman / February 4, 2016
This is NONSENSE
Fathima Fukushima / February 7, 2016
The dreaded DPU operated under SF’s instructions.
In 2008 SF publicly said Srilanka belongs to Sinhalese.
Good luck with SF in parliament.
Burt / February 4, 2016
None of this was said by SF but by Gota. Almost everyone in Sri Lanka suspect Gota to be responsible for kidnaps and murders. Now he cannot invite reporters and directly threaten that he could do certain things, but could say others could do.
This is some thing Gota should be questioned on. In the least he sounds as if he knows who are the people that is doing the kidnapping.
B Mackka / February 4, 2016
Definitely GOTA must know who dun it. Why doesn’t he spill the beans?
Parakrama / February 5, 2016
Ha, ha, Gota, MR and SF were best of friends, they were in it together. Until UNP/JVP gave the common candidate D-Rope to SF.
If anyone say no to that, ask the army commander before SF Shantha Kottegoda. Sinhala people forget things very soon. (may be convenience or blindly following a political party)
‘Non are so blind than those who refuse to see”
max / February 5, 2016
This news article is poisonous to Yahapalana lackeys like Burt. UNP MP Joseph Michel Perera once said in the parliament SF was responsible for some of the attackes. So stupid yahapalana worshipers, do not try to put this naked truth also on Gota. Your showing your nakedness to the world by doing so.
thrishu / February 5, 2016
Who writes this crap? Some shit stirer or a shit shifter?
shankar / February 5, 2016
the killings,torture etc of the journalists are not going to go away.They will be always there.At the correct time can fix fonseka if he was involved.By that time he might be dead also because he is a severely injured guy.Now is not the correct time.First investigate,arrest and jail those responsible for the killings of pradeep etc where fonseka was not involved.Let these others such as keith etc be like a sword of damocles over his head and he won’t be able to sleep in peace.Everything changes in life and todays good relationships start to sour tommorrow.Then he can be fixed.
Hitler made the biggest mistake of his life when he opened two fronts to wage war by the russian invasion.
Pasuwardana / February 5, 2016
Gota is trying to be the opposition saviour. So fonseks has to be embedded in the present regime to counter him. that is real politik not principles.
Rohan / February 5, 2016
Rajapakse’s Kurakkan Samagama ill-treated Sarath Fonseka. Yes, we give that. But, SF is no saint. He must have some collective responsibility for the atrocities of the Klan. Certainly, he is guilty by association, at least.
KUMARA HERATH / February 5, 2016
DIRECTOR OPERATIONS JOINT OPERATIONS KNOWS WHO KILLED LASANTHA.
jansee / February 5, 2016
Sri Lanka is one screwed-up nation, isn’t it? Even a prison as large as the island itself will not be enough to lock up the crooks. Looks like even the Buddha has deserted the island. God bless the ignorant Sri Lankans.
harry hatton / February 5, 2016
SF has already started being a good Sri Lankan leader.
Today (Friday 5th February) at about 11 AM SF went to the Presidents House in Fort.
His pilot car ( looked like a police driver) was tooting his horn most rudely in thick traffic trying to clear the road for his master’s vehicle.
The message was clear. A god is coming , get out of the road and make way for him !
SF of course will say that the LTTE is trying to kill him ( some thing they could have done all this time very easily)
His culture is the same as Gota/MR. Make no mistake about it.Even the money making will happen,abuse of power, half baked theories of half educated uniform types.
So guys please make room for SF when ever you see him. Maybe even give the man a big salute !
Last general elections in the whole country his so called party ( wife is chairperson!) got only less than 20,000 votes ! This is our democracy !
Spring Koha / February 5, 2016
Field Marshall Fonseka is an officer; but that’s it. Fate decreed that he would be at the helm when the the final shots were fired in the longest episode of our acrimonious history. He takes some credit for its successful(?) conclusion.
Officers of high rank guard their honour and dignity. Driven by a streak of hubris, FM Fonseka chose to trade his in for political opportunism. It was a disaster, and may it be a lesson to others.
Gradually, those around him discovered that his real talent was limited to giving orders. When he challenged MR for the title, he came second, but so would have a monkey from Hantane, at that time. (That was the time MR walked on water, remember?)
Now he has hitched his wagon to the Elephant. I am sure that there are many who would wish, with me, that our latest FM just regains his dignity, says goodbye to the sordid world that is our politics, and rides off into the sunset.
Wise Owl / February 5, 2016
If SF was responsible for the attacks on journalists, wouldn’t the Rajapaksa brigade have exposed it by now?
Or is it a case of one criminal covering up for the other?
punchinilame / February 5, 2016
Every time a news item appears re the Death of Journalist in Sri Lanka,
this cut & paste information is being posted to indicate the gravity
of the situation.. It is upto the media outfits to pursue until Justice is served.
“RECORDED LIST OF KILLINGS OF JOURNALISTS AND MEDIA WORKERS
APRIL 2004 – MARCH 2009
1. Aiyathurai A. Nadesan – Journalist / 31 May
2. Kandaswamy Aiyer Balanadaraj – Writer / 16 August
3. Lanka Jayasundera – Photo journalist / 11 December
4. Dharmaratnam Sivaram – Editor / 28 April
5. Kannamuttu Arsakumar – Media worker/ 29 June
6. Relangee Selvarajah – Journalist / 12 August
7. D. Selvaratnam – Media worker/ 29 August
8. Yogakumar Krishnapillai – Media Worker / 30 September
9. L. M. Faleel (Netpittimunai Faleel) – Writer / 02 December
10. K. Navaratnam – Media worker / 22 December
11. Subramaniam Suhirtharajan – Journalist / 24 January
12. S. T. Gananathan – Patron, Tamil News and Information Centre / 01 February
13. Bastian George Sagayathas – Media worker / 03 May
14. Rajaratnam Ranjith Kumar – Media worker / 03 May
15. Sampath Lakmal de Silva – Journalist / 02 July – killed by Army Intelligence
16. Mariadasan Manojanraj – Media worker / 01 August
17. Pathmanathan Vismananthan – Singer and musician / 02 August
18. Sathasivam Baskaran – Media worker / 15 August
19. Sinnathamby Sivamaharajah – Media owner / 20 August
20. S. Raveendran – Media worker / 12 February
21. Subramaniam Ramachandran – Media personnel / 15 February
22. Chandrabose Suthakar – Journalist / 16 April
23. Selvarasah Rajeevarman – Journalist / 29 April
24. Sahadevan Neelakshan – Journalist / 01 August
25. Anthonypillai Sherin Siththiranjan – Media worker / 05 November
26. Vadivel Nimalarajah – Media worker / 17 November
27. Isaivizhi Chempian (Subhajini) – Media worker / 27 November
28. Suresh Limbiyo – Media Worker / 27 November
29. T.Tharmalingam – Media Worker / 27 November
30. Paranirupesingham Devakumar – Journalist / 28 May
31. Rasmi Mohamad – Journalist / 06 October
32. Lasantha Wickrematunga – Editor / 08 January
33. Punniyamurthy Sathyamurthy – Journalist / 12 February
34. Sasi Mathan – Media worker / 06 March
– See more at: http://blogs.channel4.com/miller-on-foreign-affairs/open-letter-sri-lankan-journalists/524#sthash.tYkkRfgD.dpuf
19 Journalists Killed in Sri Lanka/ Source: Tamil H.R. ( Paris)
May 18 or 19, in Mullivaikkal, Sri Lanka
Puniyamoorthy Sathiyamoorthy, freelance
February 12, 2009, in Mullaitheevu district, Sri Lanka
Lasantha Wickramatunga, The Sunday Leader
January 8, 2009, in an area outside Colombo, Sri Lanka
Rashmi Mohamed, Sirasa TV
October 6, 2008, in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
Paranirupasingham Devakumar, News 1st
May 28, 2008, in Jaffna, Sri Lanka
Suresh Linbiyo, Voice of Tigers
November 27, 2007, in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka
T. Tharmalingam, Voice of Tigers
November 27, 2007, in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka
Isaivizhi Chempiyan, Voice of Tigers
November 27, 2007, in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka
Selvarajah Rajeewarnam, Uthayan
April 29, 2007, in Jaffna, Sri Lanka
Subash Chandraboas, Nilam
April 16, 2007, in an area near Vavuniya, Sri Lanka
Subramaniyam Sugitharajah, Sudar Oli
January 24, 2006, in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka
Relangi Selvarajah, Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corp.
August 12, 2005, in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Dharmeratnam Sivaram, TamilNet and Daily Mirror
April 29, 2005, in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Lanka Jayasundara, Wijeya Publications
December 11, 2004, in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Bala Nadarajah Iyer, Thinamurasu and Thinakaran
August 16, 2004, in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Aiyathurai Nadesan, Virakesari
May 31, 2004, in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka
Mylvaganam Nimalarajan, BBC, Virakesari, Ravaya
October 19, 2000, in Jaffna, Sri Lanka
Anura Priyantha, Independent Television Network
December 18, 1999, in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Indika Pathinivasan, Maharaja Television Network
December 18, 1999, in Colombo, Sri Lanka
6 Journalists Killed in Sri Lanka/Motive Unconfirmed
Sahadevan Nilakshan, Chaalaram
August 1, 2007, in Jaffna, Sri Lanka
Sinnathamby Sivamaharajah, Namathu Eelanadu
August 20, 2006, in Jaffna, Sri Lanka
Sampath Lakmal, Sathdina
July 1, 2006, in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Vasthian Anthony Mariyadas, Freelancer
December 31, 1999, in Vavuniya, Sri Lanka
Atputharajah Nadarajah, Thinamurusu
November 2, 1999, in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Rohana Kumara, Satana
September 7, 1999, in Colombo, Sri Lanka
harry hatton / February 7, 2016
Wise owl would your argument (if SF is guilty the Rajapakses would have found the evidence…)hold for the billions said to have been stolen and hundreds( Thajudeen etc) killed by the Rajapkses and the Yahapalanaya government ?
Actually the truth and evidence is not something the sinhalses are too concerned about.If they want to they could have got anybody convicted. take the famous example of SF being punished by a high court for the offence of violating military rules ( interview with Sunday leader Paper) when by that time he had actually retired from the army and was a presidential candidate.