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Activist arrested for running 'Go Home Gota' Facebook page

Social media activist, Anuruddha Bandara, was reportedly arrested on Friday night for running a Facebook page called “Gota Go Home”.

Initial reporting indicated that he was taken from his home in Gampola by a group of men claiming to be from the Modara police whilst the police denied knowledge of this arrest. Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commission has since informed the Young Journalist Association that he had been arrested and remains in Police Custody.

“Police sources said he will be charged under section 120 of the Sri Lankan Penal Code, which makes it an offence to excite or attempt to excite feelings of disaffection to the State, we will fight against this, they can’t arrest people like this” claimed MP Manusha Nanayakkara.

During his tenure as Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa oversaw a death squad known as the ‘white van commando’ because of the vehicles it used to kidnap and torture journalists, and in some cases execute them, on his orders. 

The threat is particularly salient to Tamil journalists who routinely face harassment, interrogations by the Sri Lankan authorities and attacks by the army for reporting on abuses across the North-East.  Sri Lanka is currently ranked 127th in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) World Press Freedom Index. 

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