Sri Lankan Police have arrested freelance journalist, Sujeewa Gamage, for allegedly making 'false claims that he was abducted, tortured and abandoned on a road in Colombo by armed men on 10 March 2021,
While receiving treatment for burns and injuries in the hospital, Gamage told the press that the attack was to obtain information, containing his news sources and of his affiliations with opposition politicians, that was in his possession at the time of the incident.
On 17 March, police officers of the Colombo Crime Division (CCD) detained and investigated the journalist soon after he released from the hospital. According to Attorney-at-law, Namal Rajapaksha, whose representation was retained by Gamage’s relatives, he was denied entry into the custody and was told by a police officer that his client will not be released for putting the government “in a difficult position.”
The CCD is also reportedly going to interrogate former Minister Rajitha Senaratne and former MP Chathura Senaratne in connection with the case. According to Police Media Spokesperson Ajith Rohana, Gamage had visited an office of Chathura Senaratne in Thimbirigasyaya, where he had met with Rajitha Senaratne at the office. The suspect has also admitted that he had made a false complaint through a confession, Rohana added.
On Friday Gamage was granted bail.
Media freedom continues to be under significant threat as an increasing number of attacks against journalists continue to be reported under the Rajapaksa regime. Last month, a Tamil Guardian correspondent, who went to report on a Tamil landowner dispute in Mullaitivu, was threatened and harassed by Forest Department officers.