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'Sri Lanka's savage smokescreen' - CPJ

The Committee to Protect Journalists has slammed Sri Lanka’s accusations that missing journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda has gone to seek political refuge in a foreign country.

In a piece entitled “Sri Lanka’s savage smokescreen”, CPJ Asia Program Director Bob Dietz pointed out the discrepancies in Sri Lanka's former attorney general Mohan Peiris’s statements to the UN Committee Against Torture earlier this month.

After initially stating that a police investigation is underway in Eknaligoda’s disappearance, Peiris then claimed to have “reliable information” that he had simply fled Sri Lanka and that the campaign to find him was a hoax.

Dietz said that,

"Peiris's statements highlight the disregard with which the government views international opinion."

Eknaligoda, a cartoonist for the recently banned Lanka-e-News, disappeared in January 2010 after his wife claimed he had uncovered evidence of the Sri Lankan Army’s use of chemical weapons against the Tamil people.

Speaking to the BBC last year she said,

“In 2008, Prageeth wrote and informed the diplomats about the Sri Lankan government’s usage of chemical weapons against the people in the north.

“I think he was abducted by people who did not like the truth.” 

His wife was denied permission to speak at the Galle Literary festival held last year could only hand out leaflets instead.

The leaflets said,

“I welcome you, to a country, where thousands of women and children weep silent tears for a nation of innocent civilians who have been killed or disappeared on account of their ethnicity.

Welcome to Sri Lanka.”

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