Abducted journalist’s wife accuses Sri Lankan army of derailing case

Updated January 01, 2020

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Sandya Ekneligoda, the wife of abducted Sri Lankan journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda addresses the media in Colombo on Dec 31. — AP
Sandya Ekneligoda, the wife of abducted Sri Lankan journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda addresses the media in Colombo on Dec 31. — AP

COLOMBO: The wife of an abducted Sri Lankan journalist has accused the military of trying to derail a court case in which nine soldiers have been charged with her husband’s abduction and enforced disappearance nearly 10 years ago.

Sandya Ekneligoda, who has struggled for years to seek justice for her abducted husband, Prageeth Ekneligoda, said “some officers serving in the military intelligence are trying to destroy evidence and intimidate the witnesses”.

Prageeth went missing in 2010 during the presidency of Mahinda Rajapaksa, the brother of current President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Prageeth, an analyst and cartoonist, wrote against alleged corruption, nepotism and Rajapaksa’s conduct during a military campaign against ethnic Tamil rebels in ending Sri Lanka’s long civil war.

The case did not make much headway until Rajapaksa was defeated in the 2015 presidential election and a newly elected government initiated fresh inquiries.

Formal charges were filed in the High Court last month against nine army intelligence officers in connection with Prageeth’s abduction. They were released on bail and the case will be taken up again on Jan 20.

Sandya told reporters on Tuesday that among the witnesses are former military personnel. “Let the witnesses speak the truth, what they know and saw without any interference. Let’s allow truth to prevail,” she said.

She said that some military intelligence officers “are attempting to intimidate the witnesses through various parties and to disrupt the court case”.

Published in Dawn, January 1st, 2020