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Newspaper journalist threatened at her home

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders is worried for the safety of Dileesha Abeysundera, a journalist working for the Sinhalese-language weekly "Irudina", who may have been the target of a kidnapping attempt when unidentified men tried to force their way into her home in the Colombo suburb of Borella on the night of 28 September 2009. She reported the incident to the police.

"The abduction and aggression of journalist and press freedom activist Poddala Jayantha in June showed that this kind of threat is to be taken seriously," Reporters Without Borders said. "Political gangs continue to intimidate journalists and human rights activists with complete impunity. We urge the authorities to carry out a thorough investigation in response to Dileesha Abeysundera's complaint."

Several men arrived outside Abeysundera's home in a white van shortly before midnight, called out her name repeatedly and tried to force the gate before eventually leaving.

Abeysundera thinks she is being threatened because of her role in campaigns for media freedom and against the government's plan to restore a press council.

The newspaper that Abeysundera works for is part of the Leader Publications group, which also owns the "Sunday Leader". She is deputy secretary of the Free Media Movement and secretary of the National Forum for Journalists.

The investigation into the murder of "Sunday Leader" editor Lasantha Wickrematunga nine months ago has meanwhile stalled without any suspect being arrested.

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