10/13/2009

Sri Lankan court aquits two journalists wrongfully prosecuted by police


(October 13, Colombo - Lanka Polity) A Sri Lankan court yesterday acquitted two journalists that were charged by police for non-divulging information vital for investigations to police.

The two journalists were the Editor of Lanka-e-News website Sandaruwan Senadheera and his News Editor Benet Rupasinghe. They were arrested by police following they took measures to inform the authorities regarding the abduction of a fellow journalist by unknown groups.

On June 01, Poddala Jayantha, the Secretary of the Sri Lanka Working Journalists' Association, was abducted by an armed group in a white van. Later he was found dropped on a roadside after severely beating him and making him to eat his own hair and beard. The journalist still walks with the help of crutches.

Lanka-e-News news editor Benet Rupasinghe was informed by an eyewitness about the abduction and he immediately took steps to inform the family of the abducted journalist and the other authorities including the President's office and the police about the incident.

However, police later arrested them and charged for non-divulging information to police. Yesterday police informed court they had not found evidence against the journalists and said further investigations were underway. However, the magistrate aquitted the journalists although police wanted to carry on the investigations.

The police action is widely regarded as a repressive measure against two disciplined citizens that acted lawfully in accordance with information they received.

Meanwhile, sources close to the two journalists said that they were not going to take legal action against the injustice caused to them. This is considered another indication of the repressive environment that prevails in the country.

(Photo: Lanka-e-News Editor Sandaruwan Senadheera with the attacked journalist Poddala Jayantha)

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