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Marking the Third Anniversary of the Disappearance of Sri Lankan Reporter, Columnist and Cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda with Amnesty International

01/24/2013

Photograph of Nick Gebelle, Co-Coordinator of Amnesty International Capitol Hill Group, Drew Rougier-Chapman, CRNI Deputy Director, Becky Farrar, Amnesty International Washington, DC Legislative Coordinator, and, Amnesty International Representative Kelly. 

Today is the third anniversary of the disappearance of Sri Lankan investigative reporter, columnist and cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda.  An outspoken critic of the regime of President Mahinda Rajapakse, Prageeth was last seen leaving the offices of the pro-opposition paper the Lanka E-news in Rajagiriya, a suburb of Colombo.  Cartoonists Rights Network International marked the anniversary of Prageeth’s disappearance by joining forces with Amnesty International.  Together we delivered to the Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington, DC an Amnesty International petition urging the Sri Lankan government to do what to date it has failed to do – conduct a thorough investigation into the disappearance of this journalist, devoted husband and father of two boys.  We also delivered a condolence card and expressed our sympathies to the Sri Lankan Embassy for Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya.  On Wednesday the Sri Lankan Embassy announced the passing of Mr. Premadasa Wickramasuriya, the beloved father of the Ambassador. 

Photograph of Deputy Director Drew Rougier-Chapman holding a sign asking, "Where is Prageeth?"

Since January 24, 2010, Prageeth’s wife Sandya has bravely and relentlessly pressed for answers.  First Sandya went from one police station to another until she located an officer willing to file a missing person’s report.  In a country with a shameful history of attacks on journalists and others who dare to ask questions, Sandya then went a step further.  She began showing up at government buildings with a sign that simply reads, “Where is Prageeth Eknaligoda?”  With the help of international and Sri Lankan human rights groups, Sandya has pressed for answers before the local Magistrate Court and the United Nations Human Rights Council.  When former Attorney General Mohan Peiris claimed before the United Nations Committee Against Torture on November 9, 2011, that Prageeth was alive and in hiding abroad, Sandya and her allies again and again demanded proof.  Peiris later retracted these claims. 

Today Sandya, her two teenage sons and many friends and supporters marked the anniversary of Prageeth’s disappearance by holding a silent vigil outside the Parliament.  To see photographs of that vigil, click on the Sri Lankan Daily Mirror article titled God Only Knows.  To learn more about Prageeth and Sandya, read our interview with Sandya one year ago titled Sandya Eknaligoda Speaks Out on the Second Anniversary of the Disappearance of Her Husband Prageeth, the Sri Lankan Reporter, Columnist and Cartoonist, and, our Art To Die For summary at the end of the South Asia section.  Be sure to also check out the excellent recent Committee to Protect Journalists' article titled In Sri Lanka, justice for Eknelygoda is a waiting game by CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Bob Dietz.