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CRNI calls on government to account for missing cartoonist's whereabouts and physical condition

(CRNI/IFEX) - 29 March 2010 - CRNI calls on the government of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksha to stop avoiding responsibility for the whereabouts and condition of Prageeth Eknaligoda, a cartoonist and web journalist who has been missing since January 24, 2010 in Colombo.

CRNI supports the peaceful demonstrations scheduled this week in Colombo calling for political accountability and relief from the growing harassment that journalists feel from government during the run-up to parliamentary elections to be held on April 8, 2010.

CRNI calls on all political cartoonists to bring the case of this disappeared cartoonist to the attention of their readers.

After first reporting his disappearance, Eknaligoda's wife had been harassed by police and other services of the Sri Lankan government for making inquiries about her husband's disappearance.

Police delayed the investigation, saying that they had "lost the file" - a not very clever admission of either purposeful obfuscation or blatant incompetence.

The stories coming out of both government officials and the police are contradictory and seem only intended to stop her from seeking accountability. Since the intervention of key international human rights organizations about a week ago, the police harassment has stopped but the Eknaligoda home is still under daily surveillance.

Eknaligoda was associated with opposition leader General Sarath Fonseka, who was arrested by the Rajapaksha government after recent elections.

CRNI calls on the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksha to account for Eknaligoda's whereabouts and physical condition.

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